31st December 2016

The year took a quiet leave with no eleventh hour additions for the year list, which rather frustratingly sits on 99 species. More intense observer coverage should build a higher total in 2017. The fields at Canons Farm continued to hold good numbers Fieldfares and Redwings today, at 150 and 50 respectively, along with 30 Linnets and a few Chaffinches. A Mistle Thrush was noted in Pages Acre and there were still 10 Yellowhammers in Broadfield. One of the juvenile Common Buzzards was seen. In the Banstead Woods sector, seven Meadow Pipits were still in Hither Field.

Happy New Year!

Paul Goodman, Ian Magness and Ian Ward

30th December 2016

The approachable juvenile Common Buzzard, two Skylarks, two Fieldfares, 15 Redwings, a Bullfinch and a Yellowhammer were at the farm.

In the evening, a Tawny Owl was heard hooting near the Rambler's Rest.

David Campbell and Duncan Jennings

29th December 2016

A quiet day in Banstead Woods for birds but a couple of interesting insect observations, with a Buff-tailed Bumblebee seen and the second Brown Hairstreak egg to be found recently.

Duncan Jennings

27th December 2016

Notables in the Banstead Woods sector were two redpolls and a Siskin. A Fieldfare, eight Redwings and seven Song Thrushes were also noted there, along with a Greenfinch, a fly-over Common Gull and the usual suite of woodland residents, including nine Bullfinches.

An evening walk at the farm produced a Woodcock, at least one Barn Owl along Reads Rest Lane, a ♂ Tawny Owl hooting around Lambert's Field and a Little Owl. In addition, a Meadow Pipit roosted again in Horse Pasture and a small number of Fieldfares and Redwings were around, while the popular juvenile Common Buzzard was still hanging around Reads Rest Cottages. Another ♂ Tawny Owl was heard in the middle of Banstead Woods.

David Campbell and Ian Jones

26th December 2016

Bird of the day was a Grey Wagtail heard high over Piddly Pond. Singles of Common Buzzard and Meadow Pipit and two Bullfinches were also in the Banstead Woods sector. 40 Skylarks, two Yellowhammers, two Common Buzzards and just 25 Linnets were at the farm, along with a few Fieldfares and Redwings. In the evening, the two Barn Owls spent a long time quartering Owl Meadow, where a Meadow Pipit roosted.

David Campbell, Ian Magness and Ian Ward

25th December 2016

Season's greetings! A semi-purposeful count of the over-flying gulls yielded the highlight of an adult Great Black-backed Gull flying south, along with 730 Herring Gulls by 10:15 and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Two Siskins flew over the Banstead Woods sector. Back at the farm, singles of Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail flitted over. Other birds recorded at the farm included two of the wintering juvenile Common Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks, an adult ♂ Kestrel, six Common Gulls, 200 Fieldfares, 100 Redwings, two Rooks, 30+ Chaffinches, 200 Starlings, 200 Linnets, two Bullfinches, two Greenfinches and a Yellowhammer.

David Campbell, Ian Magness and Ian Ward

24th December 2016

Highlights at the farm this morning were an adult Great Black-backed Gull and a/the Red Kite overhead. In the evening, two Woodcocks flew over: one at Poultry Field and another by Piddly Pond. 66 Woodpigeons were obviously moving northeast and thrushes feeding in the fields included 300 Redwings and 80 Fieldfares. A Mistle Thrush was heard in Ruffett Wood and three Rooks foraged in Broadfield. 30 Skylarks and 200 Linnets were logged in the sector, as were two Common Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks, an adult ♂ Kestrel, three Bullfinches and two adult Common Gulls. Hither Field held five Meadow Pipits and two Bullfinches were in the Harholt Plantation.

We wish a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas to everybody.

Red Kite (adult)
Song Thrush (1cy)
David Campbell and Ian Ward

Another new map!

Hopefully this one is both easier on the eye and for understanding - if you have any comments, please email us

22nd December 2016

A routine mild and sunny winter day at the farm, with the most unusual sightings being just a fly-over Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Mallards. Seeing the winter thrushes feeding in the fields was a continued pleasure, with at least 200 Redwings and 70 Fieldfares counted. On the east side of Horse Pasture, one of the Little Owls made a brief appearance. A Rook, nine Yellowhammers, 33 Skylarks, two Sparrowhawks, a Kestrel, four Bullfinches, four Greenfinches, 60 Linnets, 12 Song Thrushes and a Pied Wagtail were among the other birds logged in the sector. A first-winter Common Gull was a reminder that we have seen very few of this age of the species so far this season.

Redwings, Legal & General
David Campbell (photo), Duncan Jennings and Linda Mount

21st December 2016

Highlights at Canons Farm included a Rook, 70 Fieldfares and 10 Yellowhammers.

Duncan Jennings

20th December 2016

A decent day by December standards at the farm produced fly-overs of two Ravens, a 1st-calendar-year Mute Swan (the 100th species recorded this year) and a Red Kite. A modest but noticeable northeastward push of Woodpigeons was also evident, with around 450 counted by mid-morning. Having exhausted the supply of berries along Slangs, most of the thrushes were feeding in the crop fields surrounding Canons Farmhouse, with estimates of 250 Redwings and 150 Fieldfares, as well as 11 Song Thrushes. Hither Field retained its seven Meadow Pipits and eight redpolls flitted around the edge of the Harholt Plantation. It was encouraging to count 12 Yellowhammers back at the farm, while two Rooks were associating with the other corvids in Broadfield. The east side of Horse Pasture offered views of a Little Owl while two of both Common Buzzard and Kestrel were seen at the farm. Sixty Linnets buzzed around but there were only 10 Skylarks. Further sightings at the farm included three ♂ Pheasants, five Common Gulls, 19 Stock Doves, six Greenfinches and three Bullfinches.

1cy Mute Swan
Red Kite

David Campbell

18th December 2016

A flock of 45 redpolls in the birches by the northern entrance to the Harholt Plantation was the highlight of the day. Hopefully the birds will stick around for a while so that they can be properly scrutinised and perhaps even grow in number. Banstead Woods also held a Fieldfare, 18 Redwings, eight Bullfinches, a juvenile ♂ Sparrowhawk and a typical selection of other common species. Seven Meadow Pipits were in Hither Field and 60 Fieldfares were in Green Belt Field.

Lesser Redpolls
David Campbell (photo) and Ian Ward

30th November-17th December 2016

Thank you for all the records over the last couple of weeks or so, they have all been safely stowed in the database. Here is a quick roundup of the most significant sightings; business as usual will hereafter be resumed:

A Red Kite flew east over the farm on 16th and the adult female Peregrine returned to Stoney Nob on 5th and it, or another, flew over Hither Field on 10th. The three wintering Stonechats in the Banstead Woods sector remained, with the pair in Hither Field being seen on 10th and the female in Holly Lane Meadow noted on 13th. A Woodcock was flushed from Banstead Woods on 3rd and seven Meadow Pipits gathered in Hither Field on 10th. A redpoll flew over the farm on 30th, as did a Lesser Black-backed Gull on 16th. Further records from worth mentioning from Canons Farm included peaks of 75 Fieldfares on 3rd, 40 Skylarks on 5th and 17th, three Mistle Thrushes on 10th, 60 Linnets on 16th and six Yellowhammers on 17th, as well as a lone Rook on 10th. 130 Redwings in the Harholt Plantation on 1st was the highest count  received for the species.

Red Kite, Canons Farm, 16th December
Common Buzzard, Reads Rest
Song Thrush, Canons Farm

Geoff Barter, Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings (photo 1), Ian Magness (photos 2-3) and Ian Ward