31st May 2017

Bird sightings at Canons Farm included a Little Owl and a Collared Dove.

A Speckled Wood was also seen.

Duncan Jennings

25-30th May 2017

Eds: With apologies for the lack of daily postings again - I've been away over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The few avian highlights over the last few days have included a Cormorant over BW on Friday and a Hobby over BW on Saturday, followed by a Red Kite, a Canada Goose, 40 Swifts and two Swallows over BW today. Two Lesser Whitethroats and four Garden Warblers have been singing.

In a fairly busy week for other wildlife, 16 species of butterfly have been recorded, included Dingy Skippers (with a high of 11 on Friday), Grizzled Skippers, Green Hairstreaks, Small Heaths, Small Coppers, Brown Argus and a scattering of Common Blues. 27th was fruitful for odonata in the BW sector, with a Broad-bodied Chaser seen along with Common Blue, Azure and Large Red Damselfly. Burnet Companion moths emerged from Friday, Silver-Ys have been seen and Common Spotted Orchids are now on show.

Garden Warbler at BW on Friday
Common Blues mating at BW on Friday

Paul Goodman (photos), Duncan Jennings, Ian Pratley, Janice Pratley, Ian Ward and Woodchips

Round-up 20-24th May 2017

Just a quick overview of highlights to catch up on the last few days. 20th saw six House Martins over the farm. Two Hobbies flew over BW on 21st, when singles of Rook and Tawny Owl were also noted in the sector. Singing warblers still maintaining territory at BW include three Garden Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat and the Willow Warbler.

The first Brown Argus of the year was seen at BW on 23rd, while Common Blue numbers have increased and other species on the wing have included

Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Small Heath, Small Copper, Brimstone, Large White, Orange-tip, Comma, Peacock and Red Admiral. On the botanical side of things, Common Twayblade and Dame's-violet have sprung to life.

Small Heath at BW on 21st
 Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings, Ian Pratley, Ian Ward (photo) and Woodchips

19th May 2017

Sightings in the BW sector included two Garden Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat and the Willow Warbler singing at the Harholt Plantation. Two Swallows were on the wires by Perrotts Farmhouse.

Paul Goodman

18th May 2017

Sightings at CF included a Cormorant, a Grey Heron, six Mallards, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, nine Swifts and three Swallows over, as well as a Collared Dove and seven Whitethroats.

Garden Warblers were still singing in BW at the Harholt Plantation and near the housing estate.

David Campbell and Ian Pratley

16th May 2017

A Spotted Flycatcher sallying from the treetops on the edge of the Harholt Plantation was a pleasant surprise in the morning, being a tricky species to pick up on spring passage. Two Hobbies spent some time hawking over the plantation, where a flock of four Grey Herons and 300 Herring Gulls flew over. A 2cy Red Kite hung low over Coneyboro Hill and it, or another, was seen over the farm. Two Lesser Whitethroats were singing around Harholt and Hillwood Field, while two Garden Warblers were also singing (between the Holly Lane car park and Outwood Lane, and near the BW housing estate). Two House Martins, a Swallow and three Swifts flew over the farm, while three Pied Wagtails were seen at Legal & General and a Mistle Thrush was near Perrotts Farmhouse. Five more Swallows flew over Harholt and a Tawny Owl was there.

As for butterflies, BW counts included 10 Dingy Skippers, two Grizzled Skippers, 10 Brimstones, two Orange-tips, two Peacocks, five Small Heaths, four Common Blues, a Holly Blue, a Small Copper and five Green Hairstreaks. CF had three Peacocks, eight Small Whites and a Brimstone.
Spotted Flycatcher at Harholt
Hobby over Harholt
2cy Red Kite over Coneyboro Hill
Grey Herons over Harholt
Blackcaps at Harholt
Swift over Canons
adult Buzzard

Geoff Barter, David Campbell (photos), Duncan Jennings, Ian Pratley, Mark Stanley, Nic Tidmarsh and Woodchips

15th May 2017

The way this spring has panned out hitherto, it wouldn't really have been at all surprising if our first House Martins of the year were autumn migrants but thankfully such a situation was averted by a movement of 14 individuals south into the wind this afternoon, along with 12 Swifts. A Hobby also cruised over the farm, where a Cormorant, two Mallards and a Collared Dove flew over. Two Canada Geese flew over the BW sector.

Late addition: Two Red-legged Partridges were still at the farm.

David Campbell (photo) and Ian Magness

14th May 2017

Three Red Kites flew over the farm while warblers in the BW sector included two Lesser Whitethroats, a notable four Garden Warblers and the Willow Warbler.

Ian Pratley

13th May 2017

A Red-legged Partridge was still in Game Field and three Swifts flew over the farm.

In the BW sector, Lesser Whitethroats were singing around Hillwood Field and at the Harholt Plantation while Garden Warblers were in voice by the caravan site, in Stagbury Field and at Harholt, where the Willow Warbler was still singing. Four Whitethroats were also counted and a Swallow flew north.

Butterflies at BW included a Holly Blue, two Orange-tips, a Small White and three Brimstones.

Willow Warbler at the Harholt Plantation
Ian Ward

12th May 2017

A female Whinchat was found on the north side of Horse Pasture, a welcome arrival as we were starting to worry that it was shaping up to be a blank spring for the species. The year list is thus raised to 85 species.

A few locally scarce warblers were in voice in the BW sector. A male Lesser Whitethroat was singing between Hillwood Field and Hither Field while three Garden Warblers were singing in the BW sector: by the caravan site, the south-east end of the Harholt Plantation and at the south end of Stagbury Field. The Willow Warbler was still proclaiming territory at Harholt.

Andy Downing and Ian Pratley

11th May 2017

There was still little going on at the farm but a Garden Warbler showed quite well around the south end of Green Belt Field, one or two of the Red-legged Partridges was showing in Broadfield, five Swallows flew through and two Canada Geese were knocking about. Three Swifts, a Cormorant and a group of four Lesser Black-backed Gulls also flew over, 13 singing Whitethroats were counted at the farm and a Little Owl was seen at Legal & General.

Two Hobbies were seen at Banstead Woods.

Other wildlife in BW included Orange-tip, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Peacock and a Common Lizard.

Garden Warbler around the south end of Green Belt Field
Blackbird by Reads Rest Cottages
adult ♂ Rose-ringed Parakeet

David Campbell (photos), Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings and Woodchips

10th May 2017

The BW sector had two Lesser Whitethroats, two Swallows and four Whitethroats.

Butterflies in BW also had the first two Common Blues of the year, along with nine Green Hairstreaks, 14 Dingy Skippers, 12 Brimstones, three Green-veined Whites, three Small Coppers, five Small Heaths and singles of Holly Blue, Small White, CommaRed Admiral, Peacock and Speckled Wood.

Duncan Jennings and Woodchips

9th May 2017

There was little on offer bird-wise in the BW sector but a Slow-worm was seen.

Duncan Jennings and Woodchips

7th May 2017

The Banstead Arts Festival walk produced two Red-legged Partridges in Broadfield, a Little Owl on the east side of Horse Pasture, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and two Swifts overhead, eight Swallows and nine Whitethroats at the farm. Two Canada Geese flew northwest. In the BW sector, a Mistle Thrush was seen at Fames Rough.

BW butterflies included the first Small Copper of the year at Fames Rough, along with eight Dingy Skippers, four Brimstones, a Green-veined White, an Orange-tip, three Small Heaths, three Holly Blues, and three Green Hairstreaks.

Small Copper

David Campbell (photo 1), Paul Goodman, Ian Ward (photos 2-3) et al

6th May 2017

The Lesser Whitethroat was still singing in Stagbury Field and a Garden Warbler was in voice in BW behind the caravan site. Singles of Red Kite and Hobby were seen overhead and a pair of Mallards were on Piddly Pond. Six Swallows flew north and three Whitethroats were in the BW sector too. Some drama unfolded when a Tawny Owl caught a fledgling Blackbird at the BW housing estate.

Butterflies included a Green Hairstreak at Coneyboro Hill, seven Dingy Skippers, two Small Heaths, a Speckled Wood, six Peacocks, a Red Admiral, two Orange-tips and 14 Brimstones, all in BW.

Fly Orchid at BW
Red Admiral, BW

Ian Magness (photo 1) and Ian Ward (photo 2)

5th May 2017

A Lesser Whitethroat singing in Stagbury Field was the first for the BW sector this year. 23 Swifts flew through the farm. A Little Owl was showing on the east side of Horse Pasture.

Two Small Tortoiseshells, a Red Admiral and two Brimstones were also in CF. BW had a Grizzled Skipper, four Brimstones and a Small White, as well as flowering Fly Orchids.


David Campbell, Ian Magness (photo) and Natasha Preston

4th May 2017

Three Swifts over BW were the first of the year and two Swallows flew over.

Duncan Jennings and Woodchips

3rd May 2017

A Garden Warbler was noted in the BW sector, as were two Whitethroats.

The sector also had six Dingy Skippers, three Grizzled Skippers, six Green Hairstreaks, three Small Heaths, a Holly Blue, a Speckled Wood, four Peacocks, 11 Brimstones, a Green-veined White, four Small Whites, two Orange-tips and a Red Admiral.

Duncan Jennings

2nd May 2017

A Garden Warbler was noted in the BW sector and the only sighting of any note at the farm was a Swallow.

It was again a better day for butterflies; BW had six Dingy Skippers, three Grizzled Skippers, six Green Hairstreaks, the first Small Heath of the year, a Holly Blue, a Speckled Wood, a Red Admiral, two Orange-tips, 11 Brimstones, four Small Whites and a Green-veined White.

David Campbell and Duncan Jennings

1st May 2017

Bird of the day was a female Ring Ouzel; initially found at Canons Farmhouse, it then flew towards Legal & General where it alighted next to the car park but was not seen again (SG). The first Hobby of the year for the CF sector was also noted, along with a Wheatear in Broadfield, a late Meadow Pipit and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Nine Whitethroats and eight Swallows were counted.

♂ Whitethroat
Andy Downing and Steve Gale (photo)