London trip report, 31 July
Reservoirs and Stanwell Moor, Surrey; Magna Carta Lane, Wraysbury,
Berkshire; Stocker's Farm meadow and Stocker's Lake,
Courser's Road, Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits and Hilfield Park Reservoir,
Hertfordshire with Ben Martin – led by Gary Elton,
aided by Paul Davies
Gary and Paul met Ben from his flight arriving
at Terminal 3, Heathrow Airport at 8.20am, then headed for our
first stop at nearby
Staines Reservoirs. The weather started cloudy but became brighter
through the day and warmed up considerably. The birds, especially
woodland species, were very quiet and inactive at this post-breeding/moulting
time and this, coupled with heavy
foliage on the trees, meant that the 'small brown jobs' were more
difficult to see. We returned Ben to Heathrow to catch his onward
flight at about 6.00pm.
66 species were seen or heard during the trip.
Little Grebe – One was seen on a small pond at Stanwell Moor,
with further birds seen at Hilfield Park Reservoir.
Great Crested Grebe – Seen at Staines Reservoirs, Stocker's Lake
and Hilfield Park Reservoir.
Great Cormorant – Initially seen on the tern rafts at Staines
Reservoirs, further birds were seen at Stocker's Lake and Hilfield
Heron – Several birds were seen around the banks at Staines
Reservoirs with further birds encountered one other wetland site.
Mute Swan – Family groups were seen at Staines Reservoirs, Stocker's
lake and Hilfield Park Reservoir.
Black Swan – One at Stocker's Lake was an escapee from a local
collection. Not a tick!
Greylag Goose – A group of 10 birds were with the Canada Geese
at Stocker's Farm meadow.
Canada Goose – A flock of c40 birds were at Stocker's Farm meadow.
Barnacle Goose – A lone bird was with the geese at Stocker's meadow;
you can't tick this one either Ben!
Gadwall – Three were noted at Hilfield Park Reservoir.
Mallard Present at all water bodies.
Northern Shoveler – Three were
seen in the distance at Staines Reservoirs but their distinctive
bills were easily noted.
Common Pochard – Initially seen at Staines Reservoirs, more birds
were noted at Stocker's Lake and Hilfield Park Reservoir.
Tufted Duck – Noted at Staines and Hilfield Park Reservoirs.
Ruddy Duck – A long way to come to see a North American duck.
It is on the British List although, as it now seen as a threat
to the gene pool of the White-headed Duck of mainland Europe, its
days may be numbered. Small numbers were seen at Staines and Hilfield
Common Kestrel – First seen on the pylons at
Staines Reservoirs, further birds were seen at Stanwell Moor and
Stocker's Farm (3).
Hobby – A bird appeared briefly at Stanwell Moor, upsetting the
Common Pheasant – The last bird to be added to the day list, a
skulking female at Hilfield Park Reservoir.
Common Moorhen – Noted at Stanwell Moor, Stocker's farm and Hilfield
Eurasian Coot – Common at all water bodies.
Little Ringed Plover – Three juveniles were at Stocker's Farm
Ringed Plover – A single bird was on the old causeway at Tyttenhanger
Northern Lapwing – Seen at Staines Reservoirs,
Stanwell Moor, Stocker's Farm meadow and Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits
– an impressive species and always a favourite.
Ruff – A single bird on the back pit at Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits
was a good find.
Common Redshank – Four were seen together at
Green Sandpiper – Four were with the Ruff at Tyttenhanger Gravel
Wood Sandpiper – Three at Stanwell Moor were an unexpected find.
Black-headed Gull – Initially seen at Staines Reservoirs, more
were noted throughout the day.
Common Gull – One was amongst the Black-headed Gulls at Tyttenhanger
Gravel Pits. This is a potential future split from the North American
Lesser Black-backed Gull – Noted at Staines and Hilfield Park
Herring Gull – Three were seen at Staines Reservoirs.
Common Tern – Although primarily a seabird, this species now breeds
inland on purpose-built rafts, enabling us to add it to the list
at Staines Reservoirs, Stocker's Lake and meadow and Hilfield Park
Feral Pigeon – Seen in flight at most sites.
Stock Dove – Good views were had of several birds at Stanwell
Woodpigeon – Common at all sites.
Eurasian Collared Dove – Seen well around the houses on the outskirts of
Eurasian Kingfisher – One seen by Gary as it
flew low from one of the small ponds at Stanwell Moor.
Green Woodpecker – Good views of a bird on Stanwell Moor, with
another seen at Hilfield Park Reservoir feeding around the base
of the dam.
Great Spotted Woodpecker – A male was seen well at Stocker's Lake.
Sand Martin (Bank Swallow) – Noted at Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits
where small numbers breed in holes in the sandy banks of the pits.
Barn Swallow – Noted flying over throughout the day.
House Martin – Birds were seen at Staines Reservoirs with better
views at Stanwell Moor.
Yellow Wagtail – We had good views of several juvenile birds at
Pied Wagtail – Seen well at Staines Reservoirs,
Stocker's Farm and Hilfield Park Reservoir, with all sightings
appearing to be of family parties. This subspecies may be split
from the White Wagtail of mainland Europe and Asia in the future.
Winter Wren – Heard more often than seen, although
good views were obtained of one on Stanwell Moor.
Dunnock – Heard on numerous occasions, especially at Stanwell
Moor, but the heavy undergrowth meant no conclusive views were
European Robin – Several were seen at Stanwell
Moor including birds moulting from juvenile plumage and gaining
their red breasts.
Common Blackbird – Seen at Stanwell Moor and
Song Thrush – A brief views were had of flying birds at Stanwell
Moor and Stocker's Lake, finally followed by good views of a perched
bird singing at Tyttenhanger Gravel Pits.
Reed Warbler – Brief views of a single bird as it moved around
the finges of the reed bed at Hilfield Park Reservoir.
Common Whitethroat – Several juvenile birds were
seen well at Stanwell Moor.
Blackcap – A male at Stocker's Lake was the only bird seen well.
Chiffchaff – Several were located at Stanwell Moor, calling along
the edge of the path.
Blue Tit – Several birds were seen at Stanwell Moor.
Great Tit – Many were noted during the day.
Eurasian Jay – A calling bird at Hilfield Park
Reservoir was unfortunately not seen.
Common Magpie – Seen throughout the day. Now
split from the Black-billed Magpie of North America (see 45th supplement
of the AOU).
Rook – A single bird was located at Courser's Road, with more
noted in fields adjacent to the M25.
Carrion Crow – Seen at every site.
Common Starling – Seen at all sites.
House Sparrow – A large group were seen feeding/drinking at the
stream edge at Stanwell Moor.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow – At least 20 were seen
well at Courser's Road.
Common Chaffinch – Most
sightings involved juvenile birds, though a male was noted at Stanwell
European Greenfinch – Around
20 were noted with the Tree Sparrows at Courser's Road. Several
others were seen at Stocker's Lake.
European Goldfinch – Good views of adults and
juveniles at Stanwell Moor.
Common Linnet – Noted along the causeway at Staines
Reservoirs and at Stanwell Moor. Both sightings included bright
Reed Bunting – A male perched on a bush at Hilfield Park Reservoir
gave good views.
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