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 (


Membership Renewal is due from 1 August 2018

Membership Fees will remain unchanged for 2018-2019; £15 for adults, £5 for junior members under 16 years of age and family membership of £30 for 2adults and all children under 16 years. Please note it will soon be time to renew subscriptions. Our membership year starts on 1 August and those of you who do not have a Standing Order set up should send their membership fees in the form of cheques made payable to Surbiton and District Birdwatching Society and post to: Elizabeth O’Brien, Membership Secretary. Alternatively, please bring cash or cheques to the July or September meetings. Those members who pay UK income tax should opt to sign a Gift Aid Form (if you have not done so already) to enable the society to make use of its charitable status to generate some additional income. Gift Aid and /or Standing Order set-up forms can be collected at the meetings.


October Residential Weekend – New Venue! Somerset Levels    Fri 12th- Sun 14th October 2018

We have a new venue for this year’s Residential Weekend -The Somerset Levels! The weekend will run from Friday 12th October to Sunday 14th October with accommodation at the Crossways Hotel, a deluxe AA-rated 4-star Inn with a bar and restaurant (awarded with an AA rosette for quality) , with all rooms en suite and a large car park, situated at North Wootton, about 3 miles south-east of Wells. See the website at:
For single occupancy of a room, the price for bed, breakfast, evening meal and packed lunches will be £223 per person. For a shared room, the overall price will be £144 per person. During the weekend, visits will be made to several sites in the Avalon Marshes including the superb Ham Wall and Shapwick Heath reserves, where incredibly Little Bitterns, Great White Egrets and Garganey have all bred in recent years. Purple and Night Herons have also been recorded and there is an impressive lists of other rarities such as Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-necked Phalarope, Temminck’s Stint, Whiskered Terns and Glossy Ibis to name a few! Marsh Harriers, and Bearded Tits are likely and the spectacular Starling roost should also be building up by October. For more information about these reserves, see: and
Early booking is recommended. For booking forms contact Thelma Caine. Email: A deposit of £30 per person is required with cheques payable to the SDBWS. The full balance of payment will be required by 31st August 2018.


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.



Records from members are from within the club’s recording area, TQ16 extended on two sides. The Recorder has asked that sightings outside of this area are not submitted as they are not appropriate as club records. A map of the recording area is shown here


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.