Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Beddington Farm - Waders amidst a purple patch!!


Having heard via the BFBG jungle drums that the Cattle Egret had flown over to the tip and Pete Alfrey was not going to get to the Farm until 1930hrs. I made my way back over to the Farm at a leisurely pace to act as an extra pair of eyes for the search which could be an extensive one.
On arrival the bird was not visible so I took a walk around the E side of the lake to see an Egret resting in a small island inlet. A few photos later and a view through a scope and the Cattle Egret was back in the game! Pete was not far away so the evenings aim was also to be fulfilled.

Devilbirder was the last key-holder in attendance that evening. A conversation between the three of us ensued as the bird was observed commuting between the tern raft and Elands Island where it was last seen going to roost.

This morning the bird was not re located by Frank on dawn patrol. I took a walk around the lakes and a visit to 100 Acre where the Wood Sandpiper was still in its favourite corner! The Farm has hit a purple patch with a first, and the third Surrey record of this species!
A flock of Greenshank were the highlight of the tour. They were clearly looking to land on the North Lake which was still high and unable to accommodate such a group.
Pete had a Wheatear on the mound wrapping up the mornings migrants!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Beddington Farm - MEGA First Farm Record Cattle Egret!


Today I set off with Mark to collect a counter/cabinet for the Sutton Utd Club Shop and all was going well until we made it back onto the A3 and the dreaded call from Dodge flashed up on my phone. At this time of year that can only mean one thing! My immediate reaction on calling him was “What have you got?” The Professor had looked at the Egrets on the island and a Cattle Egret popped its head up!

This was a major deal! The first record for Beddington Farmlands! Blimey will it stick around long enough for me to get there! I did warn Mark that I might be a bit on edge as he drove back to SUFC. A dash to the car and another lightening speed journey and once again I was sprinting over Mile Road bridge to the gates.

The bird was quite content feeding on insects showing for small periods of time and then took a short flight around the front of the island before landing behind a Little Egret!
There seems to be a pattern developing here fortunately I had increased my training in preparation for my trip to Costa Rica but I think I would prefer to be there and not have the rush! Tomorrow I will be at the Farm so it should be a quiet day!

Another SVC and Beddington tick that's two in a week Woo Hoo!! Thanks Prof for keeping everyone on their toes!!

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Beddington Farm - Wood Sandpiper still present!


I was at the Farm at reasonable o clock this morning to carry out the monthly BTO WeBS waterfowl and wader survey. I must confess to a slight lie in after a late return from an away day to watch Sutton Utd beat the National League favourites Tranmere Rovers!

The water levels on the lakes are still high with plenty of algae covering parts of the lake. A keen eye was needed to count the Little Grebe and other ducks that take advantage of this windfall of food. A Common Sandpiper and a couple of Little Egret that were partially hidden in the scrub on the main island were the hi-lights.
100 Acre was to produce the bird of the day. A Wood Sandpiper that is turning out to be somewhat of a long staying bird in this area. This bird was loosely associating with Green Sandpiper who were very skittish leaving the former behind in the NE corner of Jim’s bed.

I have a busy week ahead getting my kit together for my forthcoming trip but hope to spend some time walking / banding at the Farm.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Beddington Farm - Sabine's Gull on the lakes!


Life has been a bit hectic of late with the new football season getting underway. Sutton Utd has a new Club shop which needed help to fit out in readiness for the opening game which was live on BT Sport. The weather was looking good today but I noticed a shift in the arrival of the rain and decided to have a lie in having travelled to Eastleigh last night for the game. This was a big mistake on the birding front, but the eagle eyed Pete Alfrey was on duty at the Farm with Tank and Frank.
The inevitable happened as news broke of an adult Sabine’s Gull on the North lake. Not only was this a Beddington tick having missed the other three records due to my incessant urge to travel at the wrong times of the year it was also a Surrey Vice County tick!

The drive to the Farm I liken to one of those computer games where to survive you have to dodge the obstacles that are thrown in front of you and increase in pace the more skilful you become! I did not break the land speed record but must have been close to it. I sprinted over Mile Road bridge arriving at the South Lake slightly soaked as the rain intensity was increasing.
Frank and Philip had their scopes on the bird and bingo a Beddington blocker had finally been bagged! As time went on more birders arrived to twitch the bird and I retreated to the hide.

My Beddington Farm total stands at 186 and Surrey Vice County total at 230 species subject to acceptance by the records committee!
Needless to say I will be on my travels again and the rain is probably only considered a light shower where I will be staying! I am certain to miss a good bird or two but this gull was one I never thought I would catch up with at the Farm. Woo Hoo!