Friday, 6 May 2016

Tuesday April 26th to Thursday May 5th

Annual Report

Our 2015 Annual Report is now back from the printers. Please see the attached for how you can order a full colour, glossy, A4 hardcopy.

Horton-Hay Cup

For a bit of fun, and to add a competitive nature to our birding, Neil Randon (of Holmethorpe Sandpits fame) and Mark Elsoffer have decided to launch the "Horton-Hay Cup" - an annual fun competition between Holmethorpe Sandpits and Tice's Meadow which will be awarded to the site recording the most bird species each year. Read more about it on Neil's always entertaining blog.

Late News

A colour-ringed Mute Swan has been on site since at least April 18th. "T029" was ringed as a nestling on 02/09/12 at Winchester College. Last reported on the River Kennet in Reading in July 2013.

(c) Kevin Duncan - T029
Dave Baker spotted a BTO metal ringed Mute Swan (W33857) on the Silt Pond on April 25th. This was ringed on 28/09/2012 by the Edward Grey Institute on the Thames at Reading.

Tuesday April 26th

Tony Cummins reported a Common Sandpiper, 3 Tufted Duck, 5 Mute Swan, a Common Tern, 150 Sand Martin, 4 Swallow, 4 Blackcap and 2 Red Kite this morning.

In addition, Richard Horton reported 2 Little Egret, a Mediterranean Gull, a Yellow Wagtail, a Hobby and a Red Kite this morning.

In addition, Murrary Nurse reported 2 Buzzard, a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk this afternoon.

Richard Horton lead a guided walk on site today for members of the Farnham U3A.

Wednesday April 27th

Andy Little reported a Common Sandpiper, 2 Common Tern, a Little Egret, a Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler today.

In addition, Dave Baker reported a Garden Warbler this morning.

Grim Styles reported that the seedlings for the forthcoming experimental crop to be planted at Tice's Meadow are coming along well at Bell's Piece.

(c) Grim Styles - Seedlings

Unfortunately the newly rebuilt Yurt (aka Grim's Bender) was vandalised overnight, a sad downside of having a nature reserve next to a housing estate full of feral children.

(c) Dave Baker - Vandalised Yurt
(c) Mark Leitch - Garden Warbler

Thursday April 28th

Kevin Duncan reported 5 Common Sandpiper this morning.

In addition, Richard Horton reported a Mandarin (female) this morning.

In addition, John Rowland reported a Little Egret this morning.

Mandarin is the 122nd species recorded on site this year. This is only the 4th recorded sighting on site.

(c) Richard Seargent - Blackcap
(c) Richard Seargent - Blackcap
(c) Richard Seargent - Blackcap
(c) Richard Seargent - Blackcap
(c) John Rowland - Chiffchaff
(c) John Rowland - Chiffchaff

Friday April 29th - BioBlitz Day 1

Over the weekend of Friday April 29th to May 1st, the Tice's Meadow Bird Group held their second annual 48-hour BioBlitz.

14 people camped on site over the weekend, with catering expertly provided by Richard Horton & Dave Baker (Saturday morning fry-up), Dave Baker (Saturday night curry) and Andy Little (Sunday morning bacon rolls).

A welcome addition to the facilities this year was a portaloo kindly sponsored by the Surrey Bird Club.

Stalls were set up by the Tice's Meadow Bird Group, Surrey Bird Club, BTO, Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust and Blackwater Valley Community Partnership.

Bird ringing was conducted all weekend by Roger Dickey (Army Ornithological Society), Mark "Slasher" Cutts (Royal Navy Birdwatching Society) and Laura Robertson.

Small mammal trapping was conducted over the weekend by Bernard Baverstock and his helpers from the Surrey Mammal Group.

A bat walk was lead on Saturday night by Steve Bailey of the BVCP.

Over 90 members of the public attended over the weekend and a good time was had by all. See you again in 2017!

61 bird species were seen on the first day of the BioBlitz, with the highlights being:

2 Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Dunlin, a Snipe, a Little Egret, a Teal, a Greylag Goose, a Yellow-legged Gull (3cy), 12 Common Tern, a Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Stonechat, a Garden Warbler, 3 Wheatear, 10 Sedge Warbler, 3 Reed Warbler, a Pheasant, a Tawny Owl, 4 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Red Kite.

Tawny Owl is the 123rd species recorded on site this year. This is only the 8th recorded sighting on site.

The count of 10 Sedge Warbler is a new site record count.

So many excellent photos were taken over the course of the weekend. Please make sure you check out these Facebook galleries for a flavour of the wildlife and socialising (note - you will need to be logged into Facebook to be able to view them):

Shaun Ferguson's BioBlitz Gallery
Mark Elsoffer's BioBlitz Gallery
Rich Mooney's BioBlitz Gallery
Andy Little's BioBlitz Gallery

(c) Mark Elsoffer - Horton Exhibition Center
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Tice's Meadow Bird Group Display
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Horton's Mound
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Guided Bird Walk
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Long-tailed Tit

Saturday April 30th - BioBlitz Day 2

Birding highlights from day 2 included:

A Common Sandpiper, 2 Little Egret, a Lapwing, 2 Teal, 5 Common Tern, 3 Yellow Wagtail, a Garden Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Bullfinch, 5 Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Red Kite, 2 Kestrel, a Hobby and a Peregrine.

4 students flying a drone on the far-side of the Workings were evicted by the Tice's Defence Force that evening. If you see anyone flying drones, or conducting any other activities detrimental to the wildlife on site, please let us know asap.

Grim Styles, once again, did sterling work rebuilding his Yurt after it was vandalised.

(c) Grim Styles - Before
(c) Grim Styles - After
(c) Dave Carlsson - Blackbird
(c) Sean Foote - Smooth Newt
(c) Sean Foote - Smooth Newts, Toads and Leopard Slug
(c) Keith Kerr - Large Red Damselfly
(c) Keith Kerr - Red Kite Soaring on Thermals from Jim's Fire
(c) Roland Weller - Whitethroat
(c) Roland Weller - Reed Bunting
(c) Roland Weller - Sedge Warbler
(c) Lynne Millard - Fox Caught on Camera Trap

Sunday May 1st - BioBlitz Day 3

Birding highlights from day 3 included:

A Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, a Tufted x Pochard Hybrid, 4 Teal, 8 Common Tern, a Red-legged Partridge, a White Wagtail, 3 Yellow Wagtail, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Rook, a Wheatear, 2 Garden Warbler, a Siskin, a Lesser Redpoll, 4 Buzzard, 2 Red Kite, 2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Hobby.

This is only the 5th recorded sighting of Red-legged Partridge on site.

Rook is the 124th bird species recorded on site this year.

Pan Species List Update
9 new species were identified over the course of the BioBlitz weekend, taking the Pan Species List to 995:

Yellow Slug (Limax flavus) - Sean Foote.
A Leaf-miner Moth (Stigmella aurella) - Keith Kerr & Sean Foote.
Large Bee Fly (Bombylius major) - Keith Kerr.
An Alderfly (Sialis lutaria) - Keith Kerr.
A Leaf-miner Moth (Elachista rufocinerea) - Archie Kerr.
Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella) - Keith Kerr.
A Leafhopper (Mocydia crocea) - Keith Kerr.
A Non-biting Midge (Psectrotanypus varius) - Archie Kerr.
A Springtail (Pogonognathellus longicornis) - Keith Kerr & Sean Foote.

(c) Keith Kerr - A Leaf-miner Moth (Elachista rufocinerea)
(c) Keith Kerr - A Leafhopper (Mocydia crocea)
(c) Keith Kerr - Archie Kerr, Top Birder
(c) Murray Nurse - Slow Worm
(c) Richard Seargent - Army Ornithological Society Members
(c) Richard Seargent - Blackbird
(c) Richard Seargent - Roe Deer
(c) Richard Seargent - Starling
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Final Count, Bird Species
(c) Mark Elsoffer - Final Count, Non-Bird Species

Monday May 2nd

No reports.

Tuesday May 3rd

John Hunt reported 2 Wood Sandpiper, a Garden Warbler and a Yellow Wagtail this morning.

In addition, Andy Little reported a Common Sandpiper, 6 Common Tern and a Buzzard today.

Wood Sandpiper is the 125th species recorded on site this year. This is only the 18th recorded sighting on site.

The count of 2 Wood Sandpiper is a new site record.

(c) John Hunt - Garden Warbler
(c) John Hunt - Garden Warbler
(c) Dave Carlsson - Garden Warbler
(c) Dave Carlsson - Wood Sandpipers

Wednesday May 4th

Dave Baker reported 17 Common Tern and a Whinchat (female) this afternoon.

In addition, Richard Horton reported a Garden Warbler, 7 House Martin and 20 Swift today.

Dave also reported the first juvenile Starlings of the year today.

Thursday May 5th

Dave Baker reported 2 Greenshank this morning.

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