Saturday 7 September 2019

Steep Down, Canons Farm, Banstead Woods and Oare Marshes KWT

The day started at Steep Down, with three Wheatears, an adult male Peregrine, a Willow Warbler, six Chiffchaffs, six Swallows, a Goldcrest, four Meadow Pipits and a Sparrowhawk the best on offer.

It was then up to my homelands to lead the annual Autumn Migration Tour for the Canons Farm & Banstead Woods Bird Group. Given the weather, it was yet another particularly challenging walk, though the participants seemed to enjoy it well enough. The best bird, a Hobby, was unfortunately too fast for most people to get a view of, and a Yellow Wagtail was merely heard as it flew over. Other stuff included four Yellowhammers, 35 Swallows, a Meadow Pipit and two Kestrels. A Sparrowhawk tussled with two of the five Buzzards seen.

Banstead Woods offered a Bullfinch, a Treecreeper, and a few Nuthatches and Goldcrests.

In the afternoon, I took my old friends from school, Panos and Francis, who wanted to get a taste of some birding, to Oare Marshes KWT. Happily, this resulted in me finding an adult American Golden Plover among the Golden Plovers on the East Flood! A very elegant and beautifully marked bird, it was still in about 75% breeding plumage and had attitude, occasionally charging at its European companions! It conveniently stayed mostly at the front edge of the flock and wasn't too distant, providing a great opportunity to study just my third individual in Britain. This bird represents the eighth record all-time for Kent. Two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, a few Ruff, Knot and Avocet, and a couple of Snipe were some of the other waders present. Water Rail, Yellow Wagtail and Cetti's Warbler were heard.

adult American Golden Plover (centre) with Golden Plovers at Oare Marshes KWT