6th October 2017

Sorry but this will be the last update for at least a couple of weeks due to DKC being away in Ethiopia... Do visit the farm in the meantime to keep up the coverage and, if/when there is wifi, the Twitter feed (@cfbwbirds) will be updated with any significant news. Thanks!

Overhead movement at the farm during the latter half of the morning involved a Snipe, a male Reed Bunting, seven Pied Wagtails and nine Meadow Pipits. 10 Skylarks and 40 Linnets were noted and a male Stonechat flicked along the east side of Horse Pasture, where a Little Owl announced itself. The adult male Peregrine returned and had a pop at some Feral Pigeons over Infront George. One Chiffchaff was by Canons Farmhouse. Four Buzzards, two Kestrels, three Yellowhammers and a Black-headed Gull were also in the sector.

adult ♂ Peregrine

David Campbell (photo) and Linda Mount

3rd October 2017

Overhead passage at the farm involved six Pied Wagtails, 20 Chaffinches and five Meadow Pipits. 20 Skylarks were on the deck. BW had two Wheatears and three Meadow Pipits in Hither Field, along with two Mistle Thrushes, a Sparrowhawk and two Buzzards in the sector.

A Clouded Yellow was at Fames Rough and other BW butterflies were a Common Blue, Brimstone, a Comma, five Red Admirals and five Meadow Browns. A Southern Hawker was at Fames Rough.

Clouded Yellow
♂ Common Blue

Steve Gale, Duncan Jennings (photos) and WoodChips Conservation Volunteers

2nd October 2017

CF had a Chiffchaff, three Skylarks, eight Buzzards, a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, a Little Owl and the regular Tawny Owl in Lunch Wood. Another Tawny Owl was vocal in BW, where a late Willow Warbler and 10 House Martins were noted, along with another Buzzard.

Geoff Barter and Linda Mount

1st October 2017

The two Red-legged Partridges were still in Broadfield and the Barn Owl was still at the farm, where two Mistle Thrushes, a Stonechat, 12 Meadow Pipits, a Pied Wagtail, a Little Owl, two Kestrels, five Buzzards, two Black-headed Gulls, 39 Herring Gulls, two Kestrels, three Rooks, eight Skylarks, two Chiffchaffs, 300 Linnets and three Yellowhammers were also recorded.

David Campbell and Steve Gale

29th September 2017

The CF sector provided two Red-legged Partridges, a Hobby, a Mistle Thrush, three Chiffchaffs, a Pied Wagtail, 13 Meadow Pipits, 100 Swallows, nine Skylarks, two Buzzards and six Yellowhammers. The Tawny Owl was on view in Lunch Wood.

A Brown Hairstreak was seen alongside Doric Field.

Geoff Barter and Ian Ward

28th September 2017

The Barn Owl, 250 Swallows, 75 Skylarks, a Blackcap, six Chiffchaffs, 250 Linnets and six Yellowhammers were logged at CF, along with a count of 20 Dunnocks.

Steve Gale

26th September 2017

The Barn Owl, a late Whitethroat, a Whinchat, five Stonechats, six Yellowhammers, 13 Skylarks, three Rooks, six Chiffchaffs, the Lunch Wood Tawny Owl, a Little Owl, four Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel were noted in the CF sector. BW had two Rooks and a Kestrel of note.

A Clouded Yellow was at BW and other butterflies in the recording area included two Commas, two Peacocks, a Red Admiral, two Brimstones, three Small White, four Large Whites, two Small Heaths, six Meadow Browns and a Small Copper. A Common Darter was at BW and a Migrant Hawker at CF.

♀ Stonechat

Steve Gale (photos), Duncan Jennings, Ian Ward and WoodChips Conservation Volunteers

25th September 2017

A Spotted Flycatcher at the farm was a nice late record and other highlights there included two Whinchats, a Grey Wagtail, the Barn Owl and four Stonechats.

Steve Gale

24th September 2017

Highlights at the farm included a Grey Wagtail, two Whinchats, two Stonechats, a Willow Warbler, a Red Kite, two Peregrines and the Barn Owl. Among the other bits noted were three Chiffchaffs, five Meadow Pipits, two Common Gulls, 15 Swallows, a Little Owl, 40 Linnets, six Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and two Kestrels.

A Clouded Yellow was at CF and other butterfly sightings on patch were four Red Admirals, three Speckled Woods, a Meadow Brown, three Large Whites, a Small White and two Brimstones. An Emperor, two Migrant Hawkers and a Common Darter were the odonata.

Geoff Barter and Natasha Preston

23rd September 2017

Sightings at CF included two Whinchats, a Peregrine, 30 Meadow Pipits, six Buzzards and a Kestrel. In the BW sector, a Stonechat was in Hither Field and other sightings included a Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs and two Swallows.

Butterflies in the BW sector included a Brown Hairstreak in Hither Field, two Red Admirals, a Peacock, a Large White and two Small Whites. A female Migrant Hawker patrolled Stagbury Field.

Natasha Preston and Ian Ward

22nd September 2017

The highlight of the morning was the first Reed Bunting of the autumn calling around Owl Meadow. A flock of six Cormorants made tracks south and a Yellow Wagtail zipped overhead. Light Meadow Pipit passage at the farm reached around 40 birds. More noticable was Pied Wagtail movement, with five over the farm. Three Wheatears were around Owl Meadow, five Stonechats were seen around Tart's Field, three Skylarks flying around Reads Rest seemed to be newly arrived and Linnets numbered around 200. Raptors at CF were represented by a Red Kite, a Hobby, 10 Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and two Kestrels. Two Canada Geese and a drake Mallard flew over the sector. Migrant warblers at the farm comprised a Willow Warbler, six Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap. Work in Broadfield continued but only attracted two adult Common Gulls, four adult Black-headed Gulls and a Rook of note; a further 11 Black-headeds flew over. A Little Owl was calling on the east side of Horse Pasture, a Greenfinch flew over and three Yellowhammers were logged. After yesterday's frenzy, only 16 Swallows were noted at the farm, with a further eight over BW, which did log 100 House Martins, normally a reasonable count!

Butterflies at CF included six Red Admirals, three Speckled Woods, 12 Meadow Browns, a Comma, three Large Whites and a Small White. Odonata there were represented by two Common Darters and two Migrant Hawkers. In BW, a Comma, a Red Admiral, a Small White and a Southern Hawker were seen.

Geoff Barter, David Campbell, Duncan Jennings, Paul Mattos and WoodChips Conservation Volunteers

21st September 2017

The day count records for both House Martin and Swallow were smashed today with a quite spectacular hirundine movement over the farm. Swallows finished on 4,000 by 13:15 while House Martins reached the dizzying figure of 6,710 (SG et al). No other site in Surrey approached today's figures and the martin count may even be a county record. The patch seems to be prone to witnessing such movements occasionally. Indeed, the previous records for both species were quite respectable in themselves, made on the similar date of 17th September 2013, when 6,000 House Martins and 2,000 Swallows were logged.

Otherwise, notable sightings in the CF sector included a Yellow Wagtail and two Cormorants overhead, as well as a count of 220 Linnets. Just two Meadow Pipits were reported and singles of Chiffchaff, Little Owl and Skylark were also logged.

Geoff Barter, Andy Downing and Steve Gale

20th September 2017

The Barn Owl was still at the farm, where six Stonechats made for a respectable count. Meadow Pipits, House Martins and Swallows were moving through in fairly small numbers. A Rook and four Black-headed Gulls visited Broadfield. A Willow Warbler was at the farm, a Skylark was at Infront George and 40 Linnets were counted at the farm. A further 15 Black-headed Gulls flew over the Chipstead Valley, along with 100 Herring Gulls.

Butterflies seen in the CF sector were two Red Admirals and three Speckled Woods.

Geoff Barter, Ian Magness and Robert Russell

Check back to yesterday for extra news from the BW sector

19th September 2017

Sightings in the CF sector included two female Stonechats, 90 House Martins, 10 Swallows, seven Chiffchaffs, three Little Owls, a Peregrine, the Tawny Owl in Lunch Wood and 11 Buzzards.

An impressive total of 17 Mistle Thrushes were noted in the BW sector, along with two House Martins, three Chiffchaffs, four Blackcaps and 20 Goldfinches of note. Further BW sightings included a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel and four Bullfinches.

BW butterflies included singles of Comma, Peacock and Speckled Wood, as well as five Small Heaths, four Meadow Browns and three Small Whites. A female Common Darter was also seen there.

Steve Gale, Duncan Jennings and Ian Magness

18th September 2017

Overhead passage at CF involved a Yellow Wagtail, 80 Meadow Pipits, two Pied Wagtails, nine House Martins and 14 Swallows. Two Common Gulls were attracted to activity in the fields along iwith nine Black-headed Gulls and two Canada Geese flew over. One of the female Stonechats was still in Tart's Field and a new bird, a male, was at Infront George. Linnet numbers at the farm built to 120. A Hobby made a brief appearance over Broadfield.

David Campbell

17th September 2017

The clear highlight today as a juvenile Sedge Warbler in the rough area by Reads Rest Cottages (DCu), just our fourth record of the species, and the first since 2014. Other sightings in the CF sector included our first Barn Owl of the season (one of our earlier autumn dates on record), a Peregrine, two female Stonechats in Tart's Field (presumably the same birds that arrived yesterday), three Chiffchaffs, 20 Meadow Pipits, four Swallows, 75 Linnets and four Buzzards. The first Common Gull of the autumn flew over.

Singles of Comma and Red Admiral were at Reads Rest Cottages.

David Campbell and Darragh Culley

16th September 2017

Coverage of the south side of CF produced at least one Golden Plover (heard but unseen high over Broadfield at 10:56, our first record of this formerly regular species since August 2013!), a Firecrest by the compost heap at Legal & General (our 13th record and the second this year) and further overhead passage involving 121 Meadow Pipits, 28 House Martins, 58 Swallows, five Black-headed Gulls and four Pied Wagtails. Two female Stonechats flitted around Owl Meadow and Horse Pasture. 10 Chiffchaffs and three Blackcaps were logged, along with three Little Owls, 30 Linnets, two Canada Geese, a Hobby, three Mistle Thrushes, a Rook and a Collared Dove. Additional local birds included four Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels and three Yellowhammers.

Willow Warblers are thin on the ground now so one in the Harholt Plantation was a nice sighting. Other BW sector sightings included a further eight House Martins, six Swallows and five Chiffchaffs, along with singles of Meadow Pipit, Whitethroat and Blackcap, two Pheasants, a Buzzard and 17 Rose-ringed Parakeets.

Three Red Admirals in the sector seemed to be migrants. BW butterfly sightings involved two Small Heaths, a Peacock, a Speckled Wood, five Large Whites, a Small White, a Green-veined White and eight Meadow Browns. Piddly Pond sported a Southern Hawker.

David Campbell, Andy Downing and Ian Ward

14th September 2017

At the farm, two Yellow Wagtails, a Pied Wagtail and 31 Meadow Pipits passed over. Two male Peregrines, including the regular adult, were battling over pigeon-hunting rights over Broadfield. Other CF sightings included eight Black-headed Gulls, a Collared Dove, two Chiffchaffs and four Yellowhammers.

David Campbell

12th September 2017

In the BW sector, two Stonechats were seen in Hither Field. A touch of overhead passage included a Yellow Wagtail, three Cormorants and 16 Meadow Pipits at the farm. A Hobby and the regular adult male Peregrine shared the same airspace over Broadfield. 300 Swallows were counted with just one House Martin among them.

Geoff Barter, David Campbell and Graham Harris

10th September 2017

Coverage of the farm in the morning produced a Wheatear, two flyover Yellow Wagtails, two Peregrines (a female along with the regular adult male), 10 Meadow Pipits, 10 Swallows, three Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, two grounded Lesser Black-backed Gulls, the Lunch Wood Tawny Owl, two Little Owls around Reads Bottom, a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel, four Buzzards, a Pied Wagtail, three Yellowhammers, etc.

Butterflies in CF included a Comma, two Red Admirals, a Peacock and four Speckled Woods.

Geoff Barter and Ian Magness

9th September 2017

It was another productive day with overhead passage at the farm involving a Grey Wagtail, two Sand Martins, two Yellow Wagtails, 24 Meadow Pipits, 20 House Martins, 280 Swallows and singles of Cormorant, Grey Heron and Lesser Black-backed Gull. Just north of Canons Farmyard, the female Stonechat remained. The adult male Peregrine was causing havoc among the pigeons around Broadfield again and four Canada Geese noisily toured the farm. A Willow Warbler and two Chiffchaffs were in the sector along with three Rooks, a Greenfinch and 20 Linnets. Local birds in CF included a Little Owl, a Sparrowhawk, two Buzzards, three Kestrels and four Yellowhammers. Sightings in the BW sector included two Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, a charm of 20 Goldfinches and five Buzzards.

A Brown Hairstreak was seen in Round Meadow and other butterflies at CF included a Red Admiral, a Green-veined White and a Small White. BW insects included a Brown Hairstreak at the Harholt Plantation, two Peacocks, two Commas, two Small Heaths, two Speckled Woods, 18 Meadow Browns, 17 Small Whites, two Large Whites, a Brimstone, two Southern Hawkers and two Common Darters.

David Campbell (photo), Andy Downing, Paul Goodman, Natasha Preston and Ian Ward

8th September 2017

Overcast conditions with showers were promising birding conditions but it was a long while till any decent level of light filtered its way through the clouds! However, the birding didn't take long to kick off with two vocal Ravens flying east at 07:20. At 08:42, an interesting raptor appeared over Broadfield with several corvids on its tail, quickly resolving into a juvenile Honey-buzzard! It was a fairly pale individual and represents our fourth record, following birds in 2012, 2013 and 2016. The corvids pushed it west before it double-backed and lost height behind Ruffett Wood. It seems very likely that the bird had roosted on site or very close-by.

Our first Stonechat of the autumn was found on the edge of Bog Field while a Whinchat was seen in Owl Meadow. Seven Meadow Pipits and 10 Swallows flew over the farm, along with 10 Black-headed Gulls. Three Rooks were amid the corvid swarm at Gunman's Shaw and the Tawny Owl was hooting again in Lunch Wood. Two Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff, two Sparrowhawks, three Buzzards and two Yellowhammers were also in the CF sector. The southwestern section of BW held a further four Blackcaps and three Chiffchaffs

A video of the Honey-buzzard can be seen here

David Campbell, Paul Goodman and Ian Jones

7th September 2017

A Hobby and 25 House Martins were seen over the BW sector and nine Swallows flew over CF.

Butterflies in BW included a late Chalkhill Blue, two Common Blues, six Speckled Woods, a Red Admiral, a Comma, two Large Whites, a Small White, a Green-veined White, 10 Small Heaths and 32 Meadow Browns. One Southern Hawker was noted.

Geoff Barter and Duncan Jennings

6th September 2017

A Raven flew south over Broadfield and three Whinchats were at the farm. Nine Canada Geese flew over and six Swallows flew over, too. In the BW sector, a Hobby was reported.

Geoff Barter and Graham Harris

5th September 2017

Two Red-legged Partridges resurfaced today in Broadfield and the adult male Peregrine showed up again.

Steve Gale

Late news for 2nd: A very notable and somewhat out-of-season flock of 28 Greylags hurled themselves across the patch recording area into CF at dusk - Ian Magness

4th September 2017

Two Whinchats were mobile around Owl Meadow in off-putting birding conditions in the early morning. A Grey Heron flew over. A Black-headed Gull and three Herring Gulls were feeding in Broadfield. Other sightings at the farm were pretty much limited to four Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, a Whitethroat, a Little Owl, two Yellowhammers and 19 Linnets.


David Campbell (photo), Andy Downing and Linda Mount

3rd September 2017

The best bird of the autumn so far was discovered mid-afternoon in Lunch Wood, a Pied Flycatcher. This is just our fourth record, following birds in 1977, 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately, the weather turned foul and the bird vanished. A flock of five Whinchats near Reads Rest Cottages was our first group of these charming migrants this autumn and the adult male Peregrine reappeared. The Tawny Owl was hooting in Lunch Wood, two Little Owls were noted and Linnet numbers climbed to 80. Four Buzzards, a Whitethroat and a Chiffchaff were also logged at the farm.

Steve Gale

2nd September 2017

It was a stunning day for our Autumn Migration Tour and 14 of us enjoyed a good variety of refuelling migrants. However, the best bird of the day, a Spotted Flycatcher, unfortunately only showed in the early morning around Canons Farmyard. Most notable during the Tour itself were three Sand Martins feeding among the Swallows over Broadfield, the latter species notching up a total of 130 in the end. The Garden Warbler was still present, seen in the holly bush at the hedge 'junction' of Bog, Can Hatch and Tart's fields. The adult male Peregrine was again seen as it had a brief go at pigeons over Broadfield and a Hobby was seen over the BW sector. A lone Wheatear was in the hedge between Broadfield and Horse Pasture then on the barns in Canons Farmyard. It was nice to see a September Swift as it passed high over Broadfield and four Meadow Pipits flew through the farm. Singles of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull also flew over. A Willow Warbler was seen along Reads Rest Lane between Canons Farmhouse and Reads Rest Cottages and farm warbler tallies include four Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and eight Chiffchaffs. Another three Whitethroats were in Holly Lane Meadow, plus two more Blackcaps in the BW sector. The day-hooting Tawny Owl proclaimed itself again in Lunch Wood, while two Little Owls and a Rook were at CF. Six Kestrels were counted across the entire recording area.

A Brown Hairstreak was seen in the hedgerow between Bog Field and Owl Meadow, and another was noted in Holly Lane Meadow. Two Red Admirals and a Comma were in the CF sector, plus two Speckled Woods. Further BW butterflies included a Small Copper in Hither Field and a late Chalkhill Blue. A Migrant Hawker, four Southern Hawkers and two Common Darters were also noted in BW.

Geoff Barter, David Campbell, Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings, Ian Jones, Ian Magness, Linda Mount, Natasha Preston, Mark Stanley, Ian Ward et al

1st September 2017

A final call to join us for our Autumn Migration Tour tomorrow morning; see details here

The magic month had a fantastic start this morning with another day on which several uncommon visitors were encountered. The top-biller was a Firecrest which made a brief appearance with a tit flock near the Reads Rest Lane entrance to Banstead Woods (PGo, our 12th record of this species and the 94th species recorded on the patch this year). The first-winter male Redstart had stayed the night and was favouring the fallen tree between Bog Field and Owl Meadow again but today had the company of a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and a Garden Warbler, as well as the Lesser Whitethroat again. Another Whinchat was found near Reads Rest Cottages. At least three Wheatears were logged across the farm and the adult male Peregrine paid another visit as it terrorised the pigeon flock in Bog Field. A single Meadow Pipit was heard flying over Broadfield where a Rook was seen and 80 Swallows and 20 House Martins were feeding. Tallies of common migrant warblers at the farm included four Willow Warblers, 13 Chiffchaffs, four Whitethroats and a Blackcap. A Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over and further sightings in the CF sector included 10 Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks, three Kestrels, two Little Owls, 20 Linnets, a Skylark and two Yellowhammers. In BW, an extra Willow Warbler and another Blackcap were near the Reads Rest Lane entrance.

1cy ♂ Redstart
Spotted Flycatcher
Whinchat (second bird)

David Campbell (photos 1-3), Steve Gale and Paul Goodman (photo 4)

31st August 2017

CF sector birds: We enjoyed our first Redstart of the autumn, a male which spent its time feeding along McManic Way [between the Watchpoint and Broadfield], in the same area as an unusually showy Lesser Whitethroat. Two Wheatears were new in and found sufficient turf in the recently harvested Broadfield. A reasonable number of House Martins and Swallows arrived ahead of the afternoon rain, numbering 40 and 200 respectively and with a slightly tardy Swift in their midst. Both Peregrine and Hobby are on the log for the day, the former visiting Stoney Nob (seemingly the adult male from the other day) and the latter cruising high overhead during the morning. Four Meadow Pipits flew through, a Mallard was heard calling and 11 Black-headed Gulls flew over. 10 Chiffchaffs were scattered around the farm but only two Willow Warblers were to be found. Two Blackcaps and three Whitethroats were also seen. Three Pied Wagtails were noted at Legal & General and three Little Owls were calling around the farm. Skylarks have performed their usual late summer vanishing act recently but one was heard today. The Tawny Owl in Lunch Wood was hooting again and usual raptors included a male Kestrel, two Sparrowhawks and four Buzzards. 52 species in total.

CF sector butterflies: A Red Admiral was seen near Canons Farmhouse and a couple of Meadow Browns were seen.

1cy ♂ Redstart
Wheatears near Reads Rest Cottages
adult ♂ Peregrine on Stoney Nob

David Campbell (photo 1), Steve Gale (photos 2-3), Paul Goodman, Linda Mount, Ian Pratley et al

29th August 2017

Yet another Whinchat was found near Rest Rest Cottages. Other sightings at the farm included a Hobby, 10 Swallows, a Whitethroat, two Chiffchaffs, three Yellowhammers, a Sparrowhawk and three Buzzards.

Steve Gale

28th August 2017

The farm wasn't covered today but a Wheatear was found in the BW sector in Hither Field.

A Brown Hairstreak was located by the crosspaths between the Scouts camp and the housing estate in BW. Other butterflies in the sector included five Chalkhill Blues, 12 Small Heaths, a Small Copper, five Speckled Woods, eight Brimstones and three each of Red Admiral, Comma and Green-veined Whites. Common Blues, Small Whites and Meadow Browns were also on the wing.

Three Migrant and four Southern Hawkers were logged and a Slow-worm was encountered in the same area as the Brown Hairstreak!

1cy Wheatear in Hither Field
Slow-worm on the move

Ian Ward

27th August 2017

Things were a little quieter today but there were still some good highlights on offer in a few hours of coverage during the morning. A new Lesser Whitethroat was found at Reads Rest Cottages and fly-overs included three Yellow Wagtails, 20 House Martins, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, nine Black-headed Gulls and four Mallards. One Rook, nine Swallows, a Willow Warbler, two Whitethroats, a Blackcap, nine Chiffchaffs and a Greenfinch were also logged. A Little Owl was vocal from the east side of Horse Pasture.

Geoff Barter, David Campbell, Paul Goodman and Ian Jones

26th August 2017

Click here for details of our upcoming Autumn Migration Tour

Another cracking morning! Early on, a Tree Pipit delivered a couple of notes from high up as it headed south and a Whinchat popped up in the hedge between Ballards Field and Heathside Field. Three Yellow Wagtails passed over by mid-morning and a din around Bog Field drew attention to a male Peregrine under corvid bombardment in the half-dead ash. The falcon was no doubt drawn in by the hordes of pigeons feasting in the stubble fields. Three Red Kites flew over, one assaulted by some of the nine Buzzards counted today. The elusive Lesser Whitethroat was still tacking occasionally along Slangs, along with a Willow Warbler. Other warblers included four Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and five Chiffchaffs. A Mistle Thrush was by the Watchpoint briefly while a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Black-headed Gulls, three Rooks and two Pied Wagtails flew over. Swallows numbered 40 and 22 Linnets were knocking around. Two Little Owls were calling and, more unusual (especially for the time of year) was a hooting Tawny Owl in Lunch Wood. Two Collared Doves were noted.

BW sightings included three Sparrowhawks, a Whitethroat, three Blackcaps and seven Chiffchaffs.

A Migrant Hawker was hawking by Ruffett Wood and butterflies logged at the farm included Red Admiral, Comma and Speckled Wood.

A nice insect find came in the form of a Clouded Yellow at Coneyboro Hill. Also in the BW sector, five Brown Hairstreaks were seen in various locations, a Silver-washed Fritillary was at Fames Rough and other butterflies included seven Chalkhill Blues, two Brown Argus, 30 Common Blues, seven Small Heaths, 80 Meadow Browns, six Speckled Woods, a Red Admiral, a Peacock, 30 Small Whites, three Large Whites, five Brimstones. Seven Common Darters were on the west side of Holly Lane Meadow, two Southern Hawkers were at Piddly Pond and the sector had six Migrant Hawkers.

Common Darter at Holly Lane Meadow
Speckled Wood at BW

David Campbell (photos 1-2), Nigel Jackman, Linda Mount, Natasha Preston and Ian Ward (photos 3-4)

25th August 2017

It was a class early autumn morning thanks to a decent suite of uncommon migrants. Best of all was a Spotted Flycatcher which spent a few minutes on the wires by Reads Rest Cottages, closely followed by a Whinchat at Reads Bottom, an elusive Lesser Whitethroat along Slangs and a flurry of eight Yellow Wagtails which flew southwest. From the heavens a Wheatear dropped into a tree by Doric Field and what was presumably the same unsettled bird was spotted as it flew high southwest later on. Two Black-headed Gulls and singles of Swift, Meadow Pipit and Lesser Black-backed Gull also flew over, while on the ground seven Willow Warblers was a decent count. 35 Swallows, eight Whitethroats, six Blackcaps and four Chiffchaffs were also noted. No fewer than 19 Buzzards were logged and, in the 'latterly notable' category, a singing Collared Dove at L&G and three overflying Greenfinches are worth a mention. Two Little Owls were heard calling.

Spotted Flycatcher by Reads Rest Cottages

David Campbell (photo) and Paul Goodman

24th August 2017

Coverage was limited to a hurried circuit of Owl Meadow but rewarded by a Whinchat in the hedge alongside Broadfield, three Yellow Wagtails heading southwest together, a Willow Warbler in Canons Farmyard and 13 Swallows of note.

David Campbell

23rd August 2017

A couple of hours spent on the south side of the farm this morning produced some quality fly-overs. First up, a Yellow Wagtail headed south at 07:53 and was followed 30-minutes later by two Tree Pipits buzzing as they flew ENE. More surprising later on was a flock of three Snipe which flew high north at 10:27. Other fly-overs included our first four Black-headed Gulls of the autumn (overdue!), a Grey Heron and 18 Swallows, with seven more of the latter involving the breeding pair at Perrotts Farmhouse and their five offspring. Two Little Owls, a Rook, three Whitethroats, two Blackcaps and a Greenfinch were among the other birds noted.

In the dull conditions, butterfly sightings were limited to small numbers of Speckled Woods and Meadow Browns.

David Campbell

22nd August 2017

A male Wheatear was found in Hither Field. Four Whitethroats were seen in the BW sector, where 10 Nuthatches were also counted. Six Swallows and two Chiffchaffs were logged at the farm, along with two Kestrels.

Graham Harris and Ian Pratley

21st August 2017

The southern section of the farm was covered, revealing grounded migrants by way of lone Meadow Pipit and Willow Warbler. Four Blackcaps, four Chiffchaffs and six Whitethroats will still involve some local birds. A Rook flew around and 16 Swallows counted included three freshly fledged juveniles by Perrotts Farmhouse. 13  Swifts loitered around Canons Farmhouse. Two Little Owls were calling around Stoney Nob.

Swallow family by Perrotts Farmhouse

David Campbell and Ian Magness (photo)

20th August 2017

Bird sightings in the BW sector were limited to 10 Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps and two Buzzards.

Singles of both Brown and Purple Hairstreak were noted (the former being seen at the Harholt Plantation), along with 10 Chalkhill Blues, 10 Common Blues, a Small Copper, a Small Heath, six Gatekeepers, 30 Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood, a Large White and six Small Whites.

Brown Hairstreak
Paul Goodman

19th August 2017

A Swift flew west and other birds at the farm included three Kestrels and two Buzzards.

Two Brown Hairstreaks were seen at the farm: one in the northwest corner of Holly Wood and another along the hedgerow between Broadfield and Owl Meadow. Other butterflies in the sector included a Brown Argus, 14 Speckled Woods, a Small Tortoiseshell, three Commas, a Brimstones, seven Large Whites, 13 Small Whites, five Meadow Browns and a Gatekeeper.

Odonata at CF were represented by two Southern Hawkers, a Migrant Hawker and a Common Darter.

Small Tortoiseshell
Ian Ward

18th August 2017

A Red Kite flew over Round Meadow and two Swallows were over Bog Field. A Willow Warbler was in Lunch Wood and other warblers in the CF sector included singles of Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

At BW, a Mistle Thrush, a Whitethroat and seven Chiffchaffs were logged.

A Holly Blue, four Speckled Woods, a Small Tortoiseshell, eight Small Whites and 10 Meadow Browns were noted at CF, as was a Southern Hawker. In BW there were six Chalkhill Blues, a Brown Argus, four Common Blues, a Small Heath, a Gatekeeper, 17 Meadow Browns, a Speckled Wood, two Red Admirals, a Comma and a Green-veined White. A Common Darter was also in the sector.

Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings and Ian Pratley

17th August 2017

Few highlights in the BW sector but 25 Goldfinches at Park Farm is worth a mention.

Duncan Jennings

16th August 2017

Highlights included a Willow Warbler at Parsons Land, a Pied Wagtail at Legal & General and six Swallows at the farm. Three Kestrels, two Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and three Bullfinches were also seen across the patch.

Ian Pratley

10-15th August 2017

I've been away again so here's another quick roundup of events since our last update. 11th saw a Reed Warbler, our third record and found by PGo, turn up at Canons Farmyard. The same day, a Garden Warbler, a scarce autumn bird for us, was found in Round Meadow with three Willow Warblers. 14 Chiffchaffs were also in the CF sector that day, along with three Blackcaps and two Whitethroats. A nice little fall!

Another Garden Warbler was seen in the Harholt Plantation on 10th, when four Willow Warblers were across the patch, a Meadow Pipit was noted near Perrotts Farmhouse and four House Martins flew over Broadfield. Three Willow Warblers were on the patch on 14th. As well as the odd migrant Swallow, we are pleased to announce a confirmed breeding attempt underway.  A Cormorant was a notable fly-over at BW on 11th. One of the local Little Owls was noted along Slangs on 10th and six Swifts flew over the farm the next day. Two Rooks were in the BW sector on 14th.

The first Brown Hairstreak of the year was logged on the east side of Ruffett Wood on 10th. The same day, the BW sector had two Silver-washed Fritillaries, five Chalkhill Blues and five Brown Argus. In BW again, three Brown Hairstreaks were recorded on 15th, along with four Silver-washed Fritillaries, two Purple Hairstreaks, 10 Brown Argus, seven Chalkhill Blues, two Small Coppers and eight Small Heaths.

Common Darters were seen mating by Canons Farmhouse on 13th and another two were noted in BW on 15th. A Southern Hawker was at the farm on 11th, as was a Migrant Hawker on 10th.

our breeding Swallows!

Geoff Barter, Paul Goodman (photo 2), Ian Magness (photo 1), Ian Pratley, Ian Ward and WoodChips Conservation Volunteers

8th August 2017

In the BW sector, a Willow Warbler, three Whitethroats, a Sparrowhawk family were the most noteworthy avian sightings, along with a flock of 30 Goldfinches in Holly Lane Meadow.

Seven Swifts were seen at the farm, as well as four Swallows, two Whitethroats and a Kestrel.

juvenile Robin
Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photo)

7th August 2017

Incredibly, a 'cream-crown' Marsh Harrier flew over the farm again today, this time heading WNW before departing to the north and in view between 09:40 and 09:45. It's tempting to speculate that it could be yesterday's individual returning, having lingered in the wider local area overnight. The southern side of the farm was scoured for grounded migrants but a Willow Warbler feeding in the bean crop in Broadfield was the only obvious example. A number of dispersing juvenile Chiffchaffs were in evidence too, with seven counted. Six Whitethroats and a Blackcap were also logged. Overhead, 11 House Martins and 32 Swifts pushed through, along with six Swallows. Three Greenfinches are also worth mentioning.

A Common Blue was in Canons Farmyard. Other butterflies included a Speckled Wood, a Gatekeeper and two Small Whites.

A Large Red Damselfly was noted in the CF sector.

Marsh Harrier, a little lower this time

David Campbell and Natasha Preston

6th August 2017

Our first in three years, and our sixth record in all, a high-flying female/immature Marsh Harrier stole the show over the farm early in the afternoon as it casually circled at great altitude. Grounded migrants were hoped for but were few and far between, although a single Wheatear, our first of the autumn, represented some 'quality'. Swifts pushed into the WSW wind, with 63 seen in total over the patch. 10 House Martins flew over the BW sector.

Resident birds included a Little Owl flying along the edge of Horse Pasture and fledglings of both Buzzard and Sparrowhawk on site.

In the BW sector, a Clouded Yellow was of course the best of the butterflies, while other species seen included five Silver-washed Fritillaries (one of which being a valesina morph), some 50 Chalkhill Blues, three Small Coppers, 14 Brown Argus, six Small Heaths, a Holly Blue, 120 Common Blues, two Commas, five Peacocks, six Speckled Woods, 30 Gatekeepers, 230 Meadow Browns, 15 Brimstones, three Large Whites, eight Small Whites and three Green-veined Whites.

Butterflies at CF included a Holly Blue, three Common Blues, a Comma, three Red Admirals, two Brown Argus, three Speckled Woods, six Small Whites and four Large Whites.

Odonata were represented by six Southern and five Migrant Hawkers in BW, with another of the latter seen by Legal & General.
♀/immature Marsh Harrier high over the farm

valesina morph Silver-washed Fritillary at Fames Rough

David Campbell (photo 1), Paul Goodman, Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photo 2)

25th July-3rd August 2017

Thanks for bearing with me while I've been away. It's fantastic to have received over 500 records from CFBW during my time in Scotland/Finland. Here's an attempt at a meaningul roundup, please forgive any inadvertent omissions of notable records.

CF birds
The most significant event of the last couple of weeks was the successful breeding of Red-legged Partridge, something which would have been a bookies' favourite were odds to be offered on the next 'new' breeding bird at the patch (although it is possible they bred in the days before the Group). The appearance of Willow Warblers away from breeding territories in mid-summer (or early autumn, depending on how you view things!) is always an exciting indication of the spell of migration to come. The farm received two individuals during the period, with singles on 28th and 30th. Further movement was evident as House Martins began to trickle through, including starting with 11 on 28th then followed by 10 on 30th and three on 3rd. Swifts began their more hurried exodus, with movements of 26 on 25th, 20 on 29th, 19 on 1st and 20 on 3rd. Swallows included a count of 40 on 30th. Notable fly-overs included two Red Kites and a Grey Heron, all on 28th.

BW birds
We don't tend to get many escapees on the patch but a Canary added itself to our very short avian absconders list on 1st. Sightings of 'proper' birds were limited, with a Grey Heron on 30th, plus six Swallows and a Mistle Thrush on 25th about the best on offer.

CF butterflies
A Common Blue on 3rd was noteworthy for the sector. A Holly Blue was noted on 3rd.

BW butterflies
Clouded Yellows, always a fantastic spot locally, were reported on 29th and 1st. Another migrant, a Painted Lady, was seen on 3rd. Purple Hairstreaks appeared on 25th, when five were counted, and four were noted on 1st. Some 12 Silver-washed Fritillaries, including a valesina morph, were logged on 25th. Selected other records include 20 Chalkhill Blues counted on both 25th and 29th, five Small Coppers on 29th and nine Brown Argus on 1st. A Holly Blue was seen on 3rd.

BW odonata
Southern Hawkers continue to patrol the footpaths.  

Brown Argus, BW on 25th
Chalkhill Blues, BW on 25th
valesina Silver-washed Fritillary, BW on 25th
Abia sericea, BW on 29th
Clouded Yellow, BW on 29th
Dwarf Thistle, BW on 29th
Marsh Thistle, BW on 29th
Prickly Sowthistle, BW on 29th
Six-spot Burnet, BW on 29th
Canary, BW on 1st
Clouded Yellow, BW on 1st

Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings (photos 10-11), Ian Magness (photos 4-9) Ian Pratley, Ian Ward, Stephen Ward (photos 1-3) and Woodchip Conservation Volunteers et al

23rd July 2017

Note there might not be any further updates until 2nd August, please continue to send your records in

Some hirundine movement was demonstrated by sightings of a Sand Martin over Tart's Field, one House Martin and 20 Swallows at CF, along with a Little Owl in Bog Field.

20 Gatekeepers and a Red Admiral were at the farm. Butterflies at the BW included 20 Chalkhill Blue, two Small Coppers, a Peacock, three Small Skippers, two Marbled Whites, 12 Common Blues and 35 Gatekeepers.

A Southern Hawker was at Park Farm.

Small Copper

Paul Goodman and Ian Ward (photo)

22nd July 2017

A few moments of great excitement today when a Curlew flew over the farm (NP). A Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over BW and four Swallows were over Fames Rough.

Ian Pratley and Natasha Preston

Late butterfly news, another site first

Belated reports of a WHITE ADMIRAL around the orchard 'last week'. This is, incredibly, yet another first for us. Here's hoping that it sticks around...

20th July 2017

Notable sightings included two Mistle Thrushes at Fames Rough and five Swifts over the farm.

Ian Pratley

18th July 2017

Swallow at the farm and two Kestrels along Chipstead Downs were the best sightings today. Two Bullfinches were also seen in BW...

 Butterfly news from BW: a Brown Argus, eight Chalkhill Blues, seven Silver-washed Fritillaries, 20 Marbled Whites, five Small/Essex Skippers, six Brimstones, a Green-veined White, a Small White, two Red Admirals, 47 Common Blues, three Small Coppers, four Speckled Woods and 169 Meadow Browns.

Duncan Jennings and Ian Pratley

16th July 2017

Two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were tempted down to follow a tractor at Perrotts-by-Wood.

After a period of silence, the Lesser Whitethroat between Hither Field and Hillwood Field found its voice again. Three Mistle Thrushes were seen in the Woods.

White-letter Hairstreaks are still on the go, with eight seen in the usual spot today. Other butterfly sightings in the BW sector included 13 Silver-washed Fritillaries, six Common Blues, a Small Heath, an Essex Skipper, a Large Skipper, six Small Skippers, a Peacock, four Red Admirals, 11 Marbled Whites, three Green-veined Whites, five Small Whites, five Large Whites, four Brimstones, 11 Commas, a Ringlet, nine Gatekeepers and good numbers of Meadow Browns.

Remember our upcoming butterfly tour, see here for further details.

In further reptile news (check back to yesterday for an item we forgot to include), a Slow-worm was spotted at the top of Fames Rough, an area which has produced sightings in the past.


Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photos)

15th July 2017

A singing Yellowhammer in the hedge bordering the southern ends of Hither and Hillwood fields was quite random. Always a good record in the BW sector, this is the first singing bird there we've been aware of since the Group began recording in 2010. Overhead in the BW sector was a Swallow and 13 Swifts.

Chalkhill Blues had emerged, with three males spotted in Stagbury Field. Two Small Coppers, a Silver-washed Fritillary, four Common Blues, two Essex Skippers, eight Small Skippers, 15 Marbled Whites, a Red Admiral, a Large White, two Green-veined Whites, three Ringlets, 11 Gatekeepers and 200 Meadow Browns.

In a rare piece of reptile news, a Common Lizard was a noteworthy sighting in Holly Lane Meadow.

♂ Chalkhill Blue in Stagbury Field
Ian Ward

14th July 2017

Avian higlights at the farm included up to 43 Swallows, a Pied Wagtail and four Swifts. In BW, two further Swallows and 30 Stock Doves were noted.

20 Gatekeepers were counted at the farm.

Paul Goodman and Ian Pratley

Join our Butterfly Tour! 25 species possible on this outing, our overall butterfly list standing at 36. Details:

Butterfly Tour Saturday 29th July; meet at the Holly Lane car park. Starts 10:00, ends by 15:00. Led by Paul Goodman. Possibility of Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Chalkhill Blue, Purple Hairstreak, Marbled White and more woodland and chalk downland species. Bring lunch if you like!

13th July 2017

Highlights at the farm included three Swallows and two Pied Wagtails. A good set of the usual species was noted at both CF and BW.

Ian Pratley

10th July 2017

The two Swallows were still by Perrotts Farmhouse and other CF bird sightings included two Pied Wagtails at Legal & General, a Buzzard and two Yellowhammers. In BW, usuals included two Whitethroats, a Bullfinch and 13 Stock Doves.

Ian Pratley


The grapevine system is out of order again - any urgent news will be posted via Twitter.

Records over the spring and summer
Thank you all for the continued submission of detailed bird and wildlife sightings so far this year. Our database for 2012 onwards is now nearing 30,000 records. As we enter the breeding season, we are going to be more selective about the records that we report on the blog for various reasons, instead focusing on reporting migrants, but we will continue to gratefully accept all records (breeding information being very important!) and store them in our database so that we can keep tabs our local bird populations and report on them at a later date. Thanks!

8th July 2017

A quiet day but two prospecting Swallows provided some entertainment, 14 Swifts flew over and in excess of 1,000 Woodpigeons in the fields. A family of Kestrels including recently fledged juveniles was around Canons Farmyard. Juvenile Treecreepers were noted by Poultry Field.

Eight White-letter Hairstreaks were in the usual place while five Silver-washed Fritillaries and two Holly Blues were around BW. Also there were two Brimstones, seven Marbled Whites, seven Small Whites, three Large Whites, 19 Commas, six Red Admirals, two Small Tortoiseshells, four Speckled Woods, 70 Meadow Browns, a Gatekeeper and 20 Ringlets.

Butterflies on the wing at the farm included Small Skipper, Marbled White, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Gatekeeper, Comma, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Ringlet.

Odonada at BW was represented by two Large Red Damselflies, 10 Azure Damselflies and a Southern Hawkers.

juvenile Kestrel
Red Admiral

David Campbell (photos 1-2), Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photo 3)