Nature in Green Belts

Birkbeck Free Lecture Series, Spring 2019, Birkbeck, University of London – Six Friday evenings, beginning 8th February 2019.
See Green Belt Programme Leaflet for further details.


Volunteer Community Ranger – Richmond and Bushy Parks

Richmond and Bushy Parks are trialling a brand-new Volunteer Community Ranger Service and have asked if there are any Surbiton and District Bird watching Society members who are interested in volunteering. For further details and online application form see Closing date for applications is 20 January.


Norfolk Residential Weekend Fri 11th- Sun 13th October 2019 Leader Thelma Caine

Book your place now for the members’ autumn weekend! This year, we will be based once again at the Caley Hall Hotel, Old Hunstanton, Norfolk. Website: The weekend will run from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon.
Costs including bed, breakfast, evening meal and packed lunches will be £185 for a shared room and £280 for single occupancy. People wishing to book additional nights at the hotel are requested to make private arrangements by contacting the proprietors. (Tel: 01485-533486 or email: ).
Travel to and from Norfolk will be in cars with lifts arranged where required. Visits will be made to several Norfolk reserves. Possibilities include Holme, Titchwell, Holkham and Cley.
Over a hundred species are expected. This area regularly attracts exciting species. Birds seen on previous visits have included Red-throated Divers, Avocets, Bearded Tit, Pink-Footed Geese, Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl, Marsh Harriers, Great Grey Shrike, Yellow-browed Warbler and Brambling to name a few.
For booking forms contact Thelma Caine. Email: (Tel: 01372 468432). A deposit of £30 per person is required with cheques payable to the SDBWS.


Big Garden Birdwatch

Surbiton and District Birdwatching Society supports RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. This much-loved citizen science event is in its 40th year now and the results have shown some striking changes over the years. The Birdwatch Weekend is 26 – 28 January 2019 but you can register and take part from 12 December 2018. For all the details see RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch website


Are you interested in Bird Surveys?

The SDBWS undertakes a number of local bird surveys including the Elmbridge Commons, (West End Common, The Ledges, Esher Common, Arbrook Common, Molesey Heath) and Home Park. We are in need of more people to help with surveys. These involve small teams of people who each make several visits in summer and winter to record birds seen and heard. It is a great way of getting know local birds and their songs and calls. If you would like to find out more about these surveys and what is involved with a view to taking part, please contact Thelma Caine for further information.

Birdwatcher’s Yearbook 2019

The Birdwatcher’s Yearbook is now available with a cover price of £20.00 and is being offered at a special price of £18.00 including 2nd class postage when purchased directly from Calluna Books. Enquiries to: Neil Gartshore (Publisher) Calluna Books, Moor Edge, 2 Bere Road, Wareham, Dorset BH20 4DD. T: 01929 552 560.


Tawny Owl Survey

The BTO have this year initiated a series of surveys to help collect data to better understand what is believed to be the declining of our Tawny Owl population. The species has been moved to the Amber List of Birds of Conservation Concern – but we need better data. The BTO is appealing for volunteers to take part in this data collection to increase our understanding of Tawny Owl calling behaviour and distribution. As a Society, we are already participating in the Tawny Owl Point Survey which is organised around tetrads in our TQ16 area, and now the BTO is extending this data collection to the Tawny Owl Calling Survey which is open to all to participate in.

BTO says – It’s easy to take part – just listen for 20 minutes during at least one evening between now and 31 March 2019. You can listen from your garden, local park or woodland. You can even listen whilst lying in bed with the window open! All information is valuable, even zero counts. For all the details, see the BTO Tawny Owl Calling Survey website

One thing to be aware of if you are involved in the Calling Survey and the Point survey – The Calling Survey uses the 1km OS square around the centre of your postcode whereas the Point Survey  is based on a tetrad.



The Management committee have been asked to make this page available to all members. It is, but to stop spurious posts such as spam, an SDBWS member has to join the group before they can post. To do this, go to the home page of the group and click the request to join button. If you are an SDBWS member, you will be accepted, otherwise rejected. Once accepted, you are free to post in the group. If you have any problems, please contact Cat Coull (


Island Barn Reservoir

Island Barn Reservoir in West Molesey is one of the best bird watching sites in the areas. We were, therefore, delighted to be able to come to an arrangement with the boat club to give those members who want it access to the reservoir. Access will be via a combination lock into the reservoir compound from Ray Road.
We will be paying a total of 150 pounds a year as associate members. This will be split equally amongst all those who want the access. As we are unsure as to the degree of interest it is not possible to be certain how much the annual subscription will be. However, given the level of interest already expressed we expect this to be somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds each.
If you are interested, and have not already done so, please contact Chris Turner on or on 07909 992956. He will then be able to work out the per person subscription. It would also be very helpful if you could state the subscription ceiling you would be prepared to pay.


Newsletters by email

The Newsletter is now available by email a few days before the meeting. It is recommended that this option is taken as it provides colour and saves the Society money.


Recruiting new members

Word of mouth is one of the best ways of expanding membership of the club. Annemarie Stiegler has generated postcard size publicity cards if you can think of anywhere to put them, or people you would like to send or give them to.  See Annemarie for supplies at the indoor meetings.


Do you live in the Elmbridge area?

There have been frequent attempts to build in the area, often to the detriment of local wildlife. Our conservation officer, Tony Quinn, is keeping an eye on things and making representations on the club’s behalf where we think there will be a significant environmental impact, but it isn’t always easy to be aware of all planning applications. So if you live in the area and see an application in your local newspaper or posted on a community boards or pole that you think warrants our attention, PLEASE let Tony know. He can be contacted on: Thank you.


Records sub-committee – a plea to all members

A recent study of SDBWS records has shown that several sites in the Society’s recording area, which over the years have produced worthwhile sightings, no longer appear to be visited regularly by Society members. Below is a list of species you might expect to see during a birding year at three adjoining sites close to Epsom.


Site + Grid Ref Target Birds

Epsom Common TQ 190 650

Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Pheasant, Woodcock, Stock Dove, Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, FieIdfare, Redwing, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Siskin, Linnet, Redpoll, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer

Rushett Farm TQ 173 608

Kestrel, Hobby, Pheasant, Lapwing, Stock Dove, Skylark, Swallow, Fieldfare, Redwing Chaffinch, Brambling, Linnet, Redpoll, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting

Stew Ponds TQ 183 609

Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Canada Goose, Mandarin Duck, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Water Rail, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting

As the table shows, you don’t have to travel far to see good birds! Other worthwhile sites not covered on a regular basis are:

 Richmond Park (southern section) TO 198 717

Hampton Filter Beds TO 130 693

Barwell Court and Winey Hill TQ 169 630

Prince’s Coverts TQ 160 610

Fieldcommon (TQ 127 665) and its associated sites

If you live close to any of these ‘forgotten’ sites, please think about visiting them, the more frequent the better, and submit your records.