29th April 2017

The main news of the day was of two singing male Garden Warblers on the patch (IPW): one between Green Belt Field and Poultry Field and other in the BW sector at Stagbury Field. This warbler is strangely scarce at CFBW and two singers on one day is rather significant, especially the bird in the CF sector, where the species qualifies as a true rarity.

21 of us were out at the farm this morning for the Spring Migration Tour, which was great fun for us and we were glad to here that our lovely attendees had an enjoyable morning too. Three Wheatears in Broadfield were the main attraction while 13 Swallows were noted, one of the Red-legged Partridge pairs fed in Broadfield and two of our local Little Owls showed themselves. Other sightings at the farm today included three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Grey Heron and two Mistle Thrushes.

A Small Tortoiseshell was seen.

 David Campbell, Christian Cogley, Paul Goodman, Ian Magness, Ian Ward et al

27th April 2017

The first Hobby of the year made a couple of swift appearances over the Harholt Plantation, where a Red Kite and a Lesser Black-backed Gull drifted overhead and a Willow Warbler was singing. Over in the CF sector, there was little out of the ordinary going on but of note were three Swallows hawking, four Mallards over the edge of the recording area and one of the local Little Owls giving a brief call.
Hobby over the Harholt Plantation
Treecreeper caught for ringing at the Harholt Plantation
Bullfinches caught for ringing at the Harholt Plantation
Red Kite (2cy, in primary moult) over the Harholt Plantation
Skylark singing in Broadfield
♂ Yellowhammer near Reads Rest Cottages
♂ Greenfinch foraging by Canons Lane
David Campbell (photos 1 and 3-7) Ian Pratley and Mark Stanley (photo 2)

26th April 2017

Slangs was the place to be, where fly-overs of Raven and Yellow Wagtail were noted while listening to a male Lesser Whitethroat belting out its song. The Raven is our 15th record, one of which was earlier this year, but the other two species bring our year list to 81 species. An incredible four Red-legged Partridges, two pairs, were seen in Broadfield. A male Wheatear was along the fenceline between Horse Pasture and Reads Bottom, a Red Kite was seen low over Legal & General and it, or another, was seen over Wood Lane later on. Two Canada Geese seen flying over were probably the same pair seen over the last couple of days and four Swallows flew through.

♂ Lesser Whitethroat

David Campbell and Paul Manville

25th April 2017

Sightings in the CF sector included five Wheatears in Broadfield, a (the?) Meadow Pipit again, two Canada Geese and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls overhead, six Swallows, a Collared Dove (a species that has continued to prove very thin on the ground this year) and a Little Owl of note.

In BW, a Willow Warbler was singing at the Harholt Plantation and 23 Chiffchaffs were counted across the sector.

♂ Wheatear
David Campbell (photo) and Ian Pratley

24th April 2017

Two Sand Martins flew through to the north-east late morning, a nice addition to the year list. Also noteworthy were two Greylags overhead, while two Canada Geese passed over both CF and BW airspace. Broadfield West had a Wheatear and the pair of Red-legged Partridges continued to tour the farm. A late Meadow Pipit flew over and eight Whitethroats were counted at CF. There was no sign of the Black Redstart in the Reads Bottom area.

Red-legged Partridges
A brazen Red Fox
Bluebells in Pages Acre
 David Campbell (photos) and Ian Magness

23rd April 2017

The Reads Bottom area came good mid-afternoon with a Black Redstart flitting between the fence posts (AD/RR). A typical spring date for our 11th record and 15th bird (all since 2010), there were no records last year so this was a sight to savour. Two Wheatears and the two Red-legged Partridges were in Broadfield, singles of Cormorant and Grey Heron flew over and 10 Swallows and four Whitethroats were also around. A Mistle Thrush was seen.

The BW sector had a Willow Warbler at Parsons Land and a Mistle Thrush by the Holly Lane car park, as well as five Whitethroats, 27 Blackcaps, 14 Chiffchaffs and seven Pheasants.

Butterflies on the wing in the BW sector included five Dingy Skippers, six Grizzled Skippers, a Holly Blue, a Speckled Wood, a Peacock, two Orange-tips, a Small White and a Brimstone. Two Small Tortoiseshells were at CF.

Black Redstart
Grizzled Skipper
David Campbell (photos 1-3), Andy Downing, Paul Goodman, Ian Jones, Ian Magness, Paul Manville, Natasha Preston, Robert Russell and Ian Ward (photo 4)

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22nd April 2017

Migrants at the farm included three Wheatears in Broadfield, a Willow Warbler by Reads Rest Cottages, a Meadow Pipit which flew from Owl Meadow and five Whitethroats. Two Mistle Thrushes were also noted on the north side.

A Whitethroat in Hillwood Field was the first of the spring in the BW sector, across which 16 Chiffchaffs were counted.

Two Dingy Skippers were to be found in Fames Rough and other BW butterflies included three Speckled Woods, three Peacocks, two Orange-tips, a Red Admiral, a Small White and six Brimstones.

Dingy Skipper at Fames Rough
Orange-tip at Fames Rough
Buff-tailed Bumblebee
Greater Celandine
Paul Goodman, Ian Magness (photo 4) and Ian Ward (photos 1-3)

21st April 2017

Broadfield attracted four Wheatears and a Willow Warbler was singing in Lunch Wood. Also logged at the farm were two Whitethroats, 10 Swallows and three Mistle Thrushes of note.

Paul Goodman, Ian Magness and Phil Wallace


Our Spring Migration Tour Saturday 29th April; meet at Canons Farmhouse. Starts 09:00, ends 12:00. 

20th April 2017

The only 'newsworthy' bird sightings were a Mistle Thrush in Broadfield, three Pied Wagtails at Legal & General and a BW sector Pheasant.

It was a better day for butterflies, with the first Grizzled Skipper and two Dingy Skippers of the year seen at Fames Rough, where there were no fewer than five Green Hairstreaks, a Speckled Wood and a Peacock. However, potentially much more exciting was an unconfirmed sighting of a Wall by the old tarmac dump at Lunch Wood - keep your eyes peeled there for the next few days!

Duncan Jennings, Ian Pratley and Woodchips

19th April 2017

Our latest spring Stonechat on record, a male, toured around Horse Pasture. Both of the Red-legged Partridges remained in Broadfield. Five Swallows skimmed around the farm and singles of Grey Heron and Mallard flew over. Two Little Owls were showing, at Horse Pasture and Legal & General.

Three Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma were noted.

♂ Stonechat

David Campbell (photo) and Ed Stubbs

18th April 2017

A Wheatear, five Swallows and two Mistle Thrushes were at the farm and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over BW.

An Orange-tip was seen in the BW sector.

Duncan Jennings, Ian Pratley, Natasha Preston and Woodchips

17th April 2017

A bit of coverage at the farm late in the day revealed the first Whitethroat of the spring bursting into song briefly on the south side of Owl Meadow. Broadfield hosted three Wheatears in Broadfield, including a male showing features of the 'Greenland' form leucorhoa, and the pair of Red-legged Partridges. A Willow Warbler was singing in Lunch Wood and a Mistle Thrush was seen. Eight Swallows, a Grey Heron and five Mallards flew over.

♂ Wheatear showing features of form leucorhoa

David Campbell (photo), Ian Magness, Natasha Preston and Phil Wallace

16th April 2017

Notable sightings at the farm included an immature Cormorant circling high, three Swallows, a Tawny Owl, a Little Owl and two Mistle Thrushes. Two Pheasants were in Banstead Woods.

Orange-tip, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Speckled Wood were flying at the farm.

Little Owl

David Campbell (photos), Paul Goodman, Ian Pratley, Natasha Preston and Robert Russell

15th April 2017

Bird of the day was a Cuckoo heard singing near Park Farm between 10:30 and 10:45. Birds seen flying over the Harholt Plantation included a Red Kite, five Swallows, five Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 120 Herring Gulls. The Garden Warbler was still singing there, two Rooks flew over Hither Field, a Mistle Thrush was seen in Holly Lane Meadow and across the sector five Willow Warblers, 16 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs and four Pheasants were noted.

Three Swallows were seen at the farm.

Butterflies included singles of Speckled Wood, Small White and Red Admiral.

Willow Warbler
♀ Blackcap
♂ Blackcap
♂ Bullfinch
♀ Blackbird
Goldfinch near Perrotts Farmhouse
Speckled Wood

Ian Magness, Nick Pulsford, Mark Stanley (photos 1-5) and Ian Ward (photos 6-7)

14th April 2017

There was a scattering of 20 Pheasants in Game Field and Green Belt Field while five Swallows flew northwest. 12 Yellowhammers were in Game Field.

Ian Ward

13th April 2017

Three Pied Wagtails were on the grass at Legal & General and a Willow Warbler was singing near Piddly Pond.

A Speckled Wood was seen at the farm.

Chiffchaff at Legal & General Wood
Speckled Wood

Duncan Jennings, Ian Magness (photos), Ian Pratley and Woodchips

12th April 2017

See Publications for details of how to get a copy of our new book 'The Birds of Canons Farm & Banstead Woods 2012-16'...
... And remember to join us for our Spring Migration Tour on Saturday 29th April

Although it felt like we'd slid back a month or two with a very chilly start to the morning, it turned out to be a rather productive day. Best of all was the second Redstart of the year, another male and again along Slangs but a very elusive individual this time. Five Wheatears dropped in to the southwest corner of Broadfield East mid-morning and 10 Swallows had flown west by early afternoon, while a Siskin called overhead and 36 Meadow Pipits trickled through. Willow Warblers were singing along Slangs and in Pages Acre. In the evening, a Red Kite also headed into the wind. Broadfield's two Red-legged Partridges were still in-situ. Other sightings at the farm included four Mallards chasing each other, a Pied Wagtail in the Pages Acre horse paddock, the two Little Owls on the east side of Horse Pasture and a Mistle Thrush.

A short visit to the Banstead Woods sector revealed fly-bys from singles of Canada Goose, Grey Heron and Lesser Black-backed Gull, a further two Willow Warblers singing at the Harholt Plantation and an additional two Meadow Pipits moving. Across the patch, 11 Blackcaps and six Chiffchaffs were heard singing.

Butterflies at the farm included Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell.

♂ Wheatear
Red Kite
♂ Wheatear
Red-legged Partridge
David Campbell (photos 1, 2, 5 and 6), Steve Gale, Paul Goodman, Paul Manville, Linda Mount, Ian Pratley, Janice Pratley, Paul Sell, Noreen Siba and Mark Stanley (photos 3-4)

11th April 2017

Our earliest-ever Garden Warbler was singing at the Harholt Plantation and two Mistle Thrushes were seen at the farm.

A good variety of butterflies were on the wing in the BW sector, with Brimstone, Orange-tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and, best of all, three Green Hairstreaks.

Also notable was a Common Lizard.

Green Hairstreak

Duncan Jennings (photo), Natasha Preston and Woodchips

10th April 2017

A good day produced three Wheatears, two Lapwings, a Red Kite and seven Willow Warblers at the farm. A Little Owl was showing on the east side of Horse Pasture.

A Red Kite was also seen over Banstead Woods.

Two Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock were flying at the farm.

Geoff Barter, Duncan Jennings and Linda Mount

9th April 2017

A Peregrine high southeast over Hither Field and the two Red-legged Partridges still in Broadfield represent the day's headlines. Eight singing Blackcaps, seven Chiffchaffs and 12 Linnets were counted at the farm, where a Tawny Owl and a Little Owl were also seen.

A Green Hairstreak was seen at Fames Rough, while a Holly Blue, a Small Tortoiseshell and 12 Brimstones were also in the BW sector. CF had four Orange-tips, five Small Tortoiseshells, a Speckled Wood, a Comma, six Brimstones, three Holly Blues and five Peacocks were at the farm.

Green Hairstreak
Paul Goodman and Ian Ward (photos)

8th April 2017

The first two Swallows of the spring, bringing the year list to 73 species, were a welcome and slightly overdue sight as they flew through Canons Farm. A Rook flew over Fames Rough and warbler counts in the BW sector produced 10 Blackcaps and 17 Chiffchaffs, while six Pheasants was a good total for the sector. Back at the farm, a Grey Heron flew over and a Pied Wagtail was seen at Legal & General.

The butterflies provided much of the interest today, headlined by two Green Hairstreaks: one at Coneyboro Hill and the other at Fames Rough. Two Speckled Woods, a Large White and a Green-veined White in BW were also new for the year, while 20 Brimstones, seven Peacocks, seven Orange-tips, five Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma were also logged there.

Grey Heron
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Ian Magness (photos), Ian Pratley and Ian Ward

7th April 2017

After what has felt like an overlong wait for the first Willow Warbler of the year, one was trapped and ringed at the Harholt Plantation this morning, bringing the year list to 72 species. In fact, only three of the previous seven years logged an earlier arrival so we've actually done alright this year. Perhaps this sluggish occupation of territory is an indication that the habitat on offer is past its peak. A Blackcap was also ringed and four Chiffchaffs noted at Harholt, where a disagreement between five Jays provided an interesting behavioural observation.

The farm had two of both Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

Butterflies across the patch included two Orange-tips, a Comma, six Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock.

Willow Warbler, a short-winged, presumably ♀, bird
♂ Blackcap
2cy Coal Tit
Long-tailed Tit

Paul Goodman and Mark Stanley (photos)