31st March 2017

See Publications for details of how to get a copy of our new book 'The Birds of Canons Farm & Banstead Woods 2012-16'

A pair of Mallards paid a visit to Piddly Pond and 10 Chiffchaffs were singing in the BW sector, where there were three Pheasants.

Three Blackcaps were in song at the farm, with one at Lunch Wood and two at Round Meadow. Two Mistle Thrushes were again seen at Chipstead Meadow and two Pied Wagtails were in Green Belt Field and 40 Linnets were in Poultry Field. A Little Owl was still showing on the edge of Horse Pasture.

Paul Goodman 

30th March 2017

See Publications for details of how to get a copy of our new book 'The Birds of Canons Farm & Banstead Woods 2012-16'

Raptors over the Harholt Plantation included two Peregrines, 10 Buzzards, two Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel. Eight Chiffchaffs and two Linnets were also at Harholt.

A Brimstone was also seen in the BW sector.

Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit

Duncan Jennings and Mark Stanley (photos)

28th March 2017

See Publications for details of how to get a copy of our new book 'The Birds of Canons Farm & Banstead Woods 2012-16'

Another Red Kite drifted west but there was little else on offer. Both of the Horse Pasture Little Owls were on view and six Meadow Pipits flew through, but it was another disappointing lack of migrants (mind you, coverage was very limited). A Bullfinch and a Common Buzzard were in the Banstead Woods sector.

Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Brimstone were flying at the farm. A Comma and another Red Admiral were at Banstead Woods.

David Campbell, Duncan Jennings, Linda Mount, Ian Pratley et al

DKC, Eds: I am away in Edinburgh for a couple of weeks so updates may be a little more sporadic than usual. It's a prime time for a number of expected freshly arriving migrants such as Wheatear, redstarts (both species!), Ring Ouzel, Willow Warbler, etc, along with the chance of something better. Do get out and keep the coverage up (and keep the sightings coming). Thanks!

27th March 2017

After a classic Canons Farm foggy morning, a fly-over Red Kite and the two Red-legged Partridges, seen again in Broadfield, represented the day's highlights. Two Canada Geese and a Siskin overhead provided second-billing while five Pied Wagtails were in the Legal & General car park and eight Meadow Pipits flew through. A Chiffchaff was singing. A Little Owl was showing on the east side of Horse Pasture.

David Campbell and Duncan Jennings

26th March 2017

The two Red-legged Partridges reappeared as they trotted along the south-east side of Broadfield. Other sightings at the farm included a Chiffchaff, two Treecreepers, a Kestrel, two Buzzards, two Pheasants, eight Linnets and four Yellowhammers. Banstead Woods had eight Lesser Redpolls, six Chiffchaffs, eight Nuthatches, six Bullfinches, a Kestrel and a Common Buzzard of note.

Butterflies on the wing included two Peacocks and a Comma at the farm and five Brimstones across the patch.

Red-legged Partridges
Carrion Crow
beefly sp and Primrose

Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings, Ian Magness (photo 2 & 4), Ian Ward (photos 1 & 3) and Woodchips

25th March 2017

Sightings at Banstead Woods included 10 fly-over Black-headed Gulls, a Pheasant, two Mistle Thrushes, two Common Buzzards, two Kestrels, two Linnets, seven Bullfinches and seven Chiffchaffs. The farm had 100 Herring Gulls taking an interest in work at Green Belt Field and two Common Buzzards.

Butterflies across the recording area included six Small Tortoiseshells, a Comma and 13 Brimstones.


♀ Bullfinch

♂ Bullfinch


Mark Stanley (photos) and Ian Ward

24th March 2017

Another horrid morning, feeling like spring has been rewound. Things brightened up in the afternoon, though, tempting the year's first Blackcap into song in Lunch Wood. A Red-legged Partridge was still in Broadfield, where two restless Canada Geese settled for a short while. In addition to the Blackcap, migrants at the farm were limited to two Meadow Pipits and a Chiffchaff, plus seven Pied Wagtails in the Legal & General car park. Stock Doves were present in good numbers, with some 200 counted, and five Mallards flew over.

The north side of Banstead Woods had two of both Siskin and redpoll flying over, plus six Treecreepers.

Canada Geese
Pied Wagtails
♂ Yellowhammer

David Campbell (photo 1), Andy Downing, Paul Goodman, Duncan Jennings (photos 2-3) and Ian Magness

23rd March 2017

Highlights at the farm included 20 Lesser Redpolls in Pages Acre, three Canada Geese and four Mallards over, four Meadow Pipits, two Mistle Thrushes, 35 Redwings, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Common Gulls, a Grey Heron, four Pheasants, two Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk.

Banstead Woods had two more Canada Geese overhead, two Chiffchaffs, a Pheasant, a Sparrowhawk, a Common Buzzard, two Kestrels and two Bullfinches.

♂ Yellowhammer

David Campbell (photo), Duncan Jennings, Paul Manville and Woodchips

22nd March 2017

The weather was pretty rough in the morning but had calmed considerably by mid-afternoon. The recently scraped Broadfield was relatively bare but a pair of Red-legged Partridges took advantage of the disturbed ground, although only showing distantly. Migrants noted included two Pied Wagtails, four Meadow Pipits and two Chiffchaffs. A Grey Heron flopped through the rain, two Mistle Thrushes were seen around Chipstead Meadow, nine Fieldfares were feeding in Broadfield and three Redwings flew over. A Little Owl was singing in the early evening and Pheasants were rather conspicuous, with seven counted. A 2cy ♀ Sparrowhawk performed at Reads Rest late on.

2cy ♀ Sparrowhawk
♂ and ♀ Linnets
One of the Red-legged Partridges distantly with Fieldfares
Mistle Thrush

David Campbell

OUT NEXT THURSDAY! The Birds of Canons Farm & Banstead Woods 2012-16

This long-awaited review of the birds of CFBW will be arriving at 'HQ' next week, featuring no fewer than 13 pieces of original artwork by three amazing artists, as well as countless colour photographs and a detailed look back over the last five years of local birding. There is a very limited print run, so we will post details of how to get hold of a copy very soon.

21st March 2017

A Peregrine was an unexpected visitor to Stoney Nob. Banstead Woods held singles of Chiffchaff, Kestrel and Common Buzzard.

Duncan Jennings and Ian Magness

19th March 2017

A gathering of some 19 Pied Wagtails was feeding in the Legal & General car park, the largest number recorded for some time. Working machinery in Broadfield attracted around 200 Herring Gulls for a short spell, a Chiffchaff was in Holly Wood, a Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over and 25 Fieldfares were counted. Other sightings in the CF sector included a Pheasant, a Common Buzzard, a Kestrel, a Collared Dove, a Meadow Pipit, seven Linnets and four Yellowhammers.

Some of the 19 Pied Wagtails at Legal & General

Ian Magness and Ian Ward (photo)

17th March 2017

Six Lesser Redpolls were feeding in Perrotts Larches and two Chiffchaffs, a Tawny Owl and two Pheasants were also at BW. Sightings in the CF sector included 10 Meadow Pipits, a Pied Wagtail, a Mistle Thrush, a Little Owl, 16 Redwings, 12 Linnets and a Pheasant.

A Red Admiral and a Small Tortoiseshell were flying by the BW housing estate and another Small Tortoiseshell was at the farm, where Wood Anenomes were in flower.

Common Buzzard at BW
Small Tortoiseshell at BW
Wood Anenomes and Lesser Celadines at Lunch Wood
Paul Goodman, Ian Magness (photo 3), Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photos 1-2)

16th March 2017

The highlight of another fine spring day was a Red-legged Partridge as it hurtled over Ruffett Meadow. This CFBW rarity is roughly annual in occurrence and early spring is the prime time to find one. Other migrants at the farm included three Chiffchaffs, four Meadow Pipits, three redpolls, three Siskins, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 110 Redwings and 24 Fieldfares. Singles of Cormorant and Grey Heron flew over, as did three Mallards. A Little Owl was showing in Bog Field, a Collared Dove flicked across the fields and a Pied Wagtail was feeding in the Legal & General car park. 

The south side of Banstead Woods produced a further five redpolls and three Chiffchaffs of note. Six Common Buzzards and three Sparrowhawks kettled up together over the Chipstead Valley.

Singletons of Comma and Brimstone were seen at the Harholt Plantation, while one each of Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell were out at the farm.

adult Grey Heron
Fieldfare and Redwings
Common Toothwort along Slangs

David Campbell (photos 1-3), Ian Magness (photo 4) and Linda Mount

15th March 2017

60 Redwings were mobile between Lunch Wood and Poultry Field. A Black-headed Gull was on the Legal & General sports field. Singles of Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard and Kestrel were noted in the BW sector.

Ian Pratley

14th March 2017

Two Red Kites drifted over the Harholt Plantation, where there were four Chiffchaffs, two Bullfinches, two Greenfinches, two Treecreepers and a Sparrowhawk of note. Also in the BW sector was a Pheasant and two Redwings.

2cy ♀ Bullfinch
Duncan Jennings and Mark Stanley (photos)

13th March 2017

Warm conditions and a light north-westerly led to some overhead movement of gulls. Hearing a Mediterranean Gull call drew attention to two stunning adults amid a high northbound flock of Black-headed Gulls. This represents the third record for CFBW. Five Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Common Gull and several hundred Herring Gulls also moved overhead. A tight and purposeful flock of some 200 Starlings which headed north-east will also have been migrants. A little more sporadic now, with recent sightings probably involving waves of transitory birds, 30 Fieldfares and 10 Redwings were around the farm. The thermals tempted 14 Common Buzzards and three Sparrowhawks to rise up, a couple of the former indulging in display. Six Meadow Pipits bounced around Owl Meadow and 120 Linnets buzzed around the fields on the west side.

The Banstead Woods sector received our first Chiffchaffs of the year, with five singing males counted. A Canada Goose was heard flying by, a Pied/White Wagtail flew over and a Tawny Owl called briefly. Two Siskins and nine redpolls were also seen, while other woodland bird counts in the sector included six Treecreepers.

Two Small Tortoiseshells flitted around the Watchpoint and there was much Common Frog activity again at Piddly Pond.

David Campbell, Linda Mount and Ian Pratley

11th March 2017

BW sported five Lesser Redpolls and two Siskins, as well as 37 Redwings, four Common Buzzards, a Mistle Thrush, a Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels, a Tawny Owl, a Greenfinch and four Bullfinches. Over at the farm, a Common Gull was on the Legal & General sports field and eight Redwings were in Lunch Wood.

A Comma and two Brimstones were on the wing in the BW sector.


Paul Goodman, Ian Pratley and Ian Ward (photo)

10th March 2017

Highlights today included overhead migration involving a Cormorant, four Linnets, 16 Chaffinches and two Pied Wagtails (another was at Legal & General). Two Meadow Pipits were also around and a Little Owl was showing on the east side of Horse Pasture. Six fly-over Mallards, three Common Gulls, 50 Fieldfares and 52 Redwings were noted. A Treecreeper was singing in Lunch Wood.

♂ Yellowhammer

David Campbell (photos), Paul Goodman and Ian Magness

9th March 2017

A ♂ Grey Wagtail flew west and two ♂ Stonechats were mobile around the farm. Two Mallards flew over and Little Owls were showing at Legal & General and on the east side of Horse Pasture. 14 Yellowhammers were counted, including two singing ♂♂. Common Buzzards were enjoying the warmth, 11 birds possibly including some migrants. The Legal & General sports field held three adult Common Gulls and 23 Black-headed Gulls. Four Kestrels were noted across the farm and a Pied Wagtail was still in the Legal & General car park. 17 Linnets and six Meadow Pipits were logged but there were only singles of Fieldfare and Redwing

The BW sector had a redpoll and two Siskins in Perrotts Larches, as well as two Treecreepers, three Bullfinches, a Pheasant, a Common Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.

The spring-like conditions tempted a Small Tortoiseshell and a Brimstone out at the farm, while 11 further Brimstones were counted in BW, along with a Comma.

♂ Yellowhammer
♂ Starling
Small Tortoiseshell
David Campbell (photos), Duncan Jennings, Linda Mount and Ian Pratley

7th March 2017

Five Stonechats were on the edge of Horse Pasture and two Meadow Pipits were in Owl Meadow. A Pied Wagtail was feeding at Legal & General. A Kestrel was also at the farm. The BW sector had a Pheasant and a Common Buzzard.

Andy Downing and Duncan Jennings

6th March 2017

The flock of Lesser Redpolls near the north-west corner of the Harholt Plantation had grown to 25 birds. A migrant Linnet flew over Hillwood Field, as did a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Common Gulls, while other sightings in the BW sector included a Pheasant, a ♀ Sparrowhawk, a Common Buzzard, two Kestrels, two Treecreepers, four Bullfinches and two Greenfinches.

The farm three ♂ Stonechats on Lunch Banks, along with four Common Buzzards, another Kestrel, a Common Gull, four Redwings.

Lesser Redpoll
♀ Sparrowhawk

David Campbell (photos), Ian Magness and Ian Pratley

4th March 2017

14 Lesser Redpolls were feeding in the birches between Piddly Pond and the Harholt Plantation. A ♀ Stonechat was at Slangs and a pair were in Hillwood Field, where seven Common Buzzards drifted northeast and two Meadow Pipits were seen. Another seven Common Buzzards were seen over the CF sector. A Pied Wagtail flew over Poultry Field and two Kestrels were seen mating at the caravan site. 70 Redwings were in Green Belt Field.

first-winter ♂ Lesser Redpoll
♀ Stonechat at Slangs

Piddly Pond was brought to life by much raunchy Common Frog activity.

Common Frog

Ian Magness (photo 2-3) and Ian Ward (photo 1)

3rd March 2017

Banstead Woods had a Peregrine, as well as a Pheasant, a Tawny Owl and seven Redwings.

Duncan Jennings and Ian Pratley

2nd March 2017

A Mallard flew over the farm and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was with five adult Common Gulls, 18 Herring Gulls and 23 Black-headed Gulls on the Legal & General sports field. 50 Fieldfares and 65 Redwings were feeding in the fields. A Pied Wagtail flew from Broadfield and five Meadow Pipits were seen. Also at CF was a Kestrel, 11 Skylarks, a Treecreeper and a Yellowhammer.

BW had two Stonechats in Hither Field, a Linnet overhead, a Mistle Thrush, two Common Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk of note.

Geoff Barter and David Campbell (photo)

1st March 2017

Three Stonechats and two Meadow Pipits were near the Watchpoint and two Common Buzzards were over Lunch Wood. A male Bullfinch was in The Knoll, where the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was possibly heard drumming again.

♂ Stonechat

Ian Magness (photos) and Ian Pratley

28th February 2017

Three Stonechats were seen in Hillwood Field and other BW sightings included a Siskin in Perrotts Larches, six Lesser Redpolls and a Common Buzzard. Sightings at the farm included three Common Buzzards and 10 Redwings.

Geoff Barter and Ian Pratley

27th February 2017

The farm had two fly-over Mallards, a Pheasant, a Sparrowhawk, four Common Gulls, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull at Legal & General, a Little Owl on the east side of Horse Pasture, a Kestrel, two Rooks, nine Skylarks, three Nuthatches, 150 Fieldfares, 275 Redwings, a ♀ Stonechat, three Meadow Pipits, four Greenfinches and five Yellowhammers.

adult Common Gull and adult Lesser Black-backed Gull on the Legal & General sports field
first-winter Common Gull on the Legal & General sports field (a scarce age this winter)
Rook in Broadfield
♀ Stonechat at Reads Bottom
David Campbell