News archive

November 2011

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Bird Sightings in Guildford & District area - November 2011

Courtesy of Sean Foote -

As we enter the winter doldrums, new arrivals are now rather thin on the ground, but there is still plenty of interesting winter migrants around. The region has not missed out on the Short-eared Owl bonanza currently being enjoyed around the country, as up to four birds look set to winter at Papercourt Water Meadows. The Thursley Shrike continues to entertain, and Crossbill numbers are steadying.

*Papercourt: A pair of Short-eared Owls were first seen on the 13th, and have been seen almost every afternoon since. Towards the end of the month, another joined them, and four was claimed on the 26th. This area seems a haven for Owls, as two Barn Owls are also about, along with the usual Littles, and ubiquitous Tawnies. Still, sunny conditions are best for the quartering Owls, around two hours before sunset onwards.

*Thursley Common: The typically mobile Great Grey Shrike has been seen throughout the period, with a second bird being seen occasionally in the first half of the month. Crossbills have probably been present throughout the month, but the occasional sightings suggest a flock of around fifteen. Other sightings were a Short-eared Owl on the 17th, and a Raven and Peregrine together on the 1st.

*Hankley Common: One of the Thursley Shrikes has made occasional forays to Hankley throughout the month. Crossbills appear to be more numerous than Thursley, with a flock of around 35 throughout the month. A Black Redstart was seen on the 1st, and Raven and Peregrine were again seen on the same day, but on the 13th.

*Tice's Meadow: After a few years of absence, Golden Plover have returned to this site, with a maximum of 250 on the 9th. They appear to have disappeared for the second half of the month. The Gull roost has held up to two Yellow-legged Gull throughout, with a Caspian into the bargain on the 25th. Not to be outdone, Tice's got into the act with its own Short-eared Owl, on the 21st.

*Other sites: A Crane flew Southwest over Milford on the 3rd. Sightings at Frensham included four Common Scoter, a Brent Goose, and a Firecrest throughout. A Knot was at Unstead SF on the 5th. Mealy Redpolls continue to be trapped and ringed at Leith Hill. A Black Redstart was in Pewley Way, Guildford on the 17th. Single Ravens flew over Polesdon Lacey on the 20th, and the same bird over Puttenham Common and Heath End on the 27th. Other Crossbill sightings were twelve at Surrey Research Park, ten at Hambledon, twenty at Farnham Heath RSPB, fifty at Leith Hill, and a fantastic sixty at Crooksbury Common. A Red Kite went over Camberley on the 30th. The Thursley/Hankley Shrike also visited Farnham Heath RSPB on the 18th.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cranleigh Christmas Fair - 5 November 2011 - Report

A huge thank you to all who helped set up and run the various stalls on the day and also to the many people who provided tombola prizes and items for sale. The Members' stall, new this year, was very successful, and a wide variety of items were produced for sale, including handmade cards (stitched, crafted and photographic), pottery, a painting, gift tags, decorative flowers, crocheted goods, wood-craft, vegetables, seeds and plants.
The day went off without a hitch and we had a continuous trickle of people coming through.
The net profit for the day was £543.46. This was not quite as much as last year but considering the change of day and extra costs involved it was still pretty good.
The RSPB Sales also did pretty well, with takings of £557.17, and although the total sales was a bit less than last year the sale of Christmas goods was up. The total takings for the pin badges was £41. The Bird seed stall takings were £59.40.
All-in-all we are very pleased with the event.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Bird Sightings in Guildford & District area - October 2011

Mid-month there was a large arrival of winter visitors, as most summer visitors are now departed. One of the main ornithological events in the area was the eruption of Crossbills from their breeding grounds, and they are now appearing everywhere. Thursley Common seems to be the place to be at the moment, with seemingly wintering Great Grey Shrike and Hen Harrier. Both Raven and Red Kite continue to show signs of populating our area, with several sightings in October.

* Thursley Common: Crossbill numbers have been stable, with three on the 7th, nine on the 9th, ten on the 17th, 15 on the 22nd, and two on the 28th. A ringtail Hen Harrier was first seen on the 14th, and has been seen virtually everyday up to the months end. It was briefly joined by a male on the 25th. A Great Grey Shrike first appeared on the 17th, and just like the Hen Harrier, has been seen everyday, mostly around Shrike Hill, but also on South Bog and by Pine Island. A second Shrike visited on the 30th. Other interesting sightings included two Ravens and a late Whinchat on the 21st.

* Frensham Common: Two Ravens flew over on the 1st, and three Crossbills were present. On the 29th, Crossbill numbers had increased to eight, and a ringtail Hen Harrier flew over (possibly the Thursley bird).

* Leith Hill: Crossbills have probably been present throughout the month, but particularly notable counts included 150 on the 7th, and 100 on the 21st. The ringing station there has got through an impressive amount of Redpolls, including at least 150 Mealy Redpolls (the rarer species)! A Merlin flew through on the 10th, five Ring Ouzels visited on the 16th, two Ravens went over on the 25th and 29th, and a Red Kite went over, also on the 25th. Brambling were present in good numbers (up to 20), as was a Firecrest.

* Other sites: Unstead SF had two Ravens fly over on the 16th. Red Kites flew over Ash on the 15th and 17th, and Stoke Meadows on the 5th. Other Crossbill sightings were as follows: 18 at Ewhurst on the 15th, three at Papercourt on the 24th, 30 at Farnham Heath RSPB on the 26th, and four at Bookham Common on the 28th.