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)