October Residential Weekend. – New Venue, Suffolk. Fri 9- Sun 11 October

Suffolk is the venue for this year’s Residential Weekend. The weekend will run from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th October with accommodation at the Ufford Park Hotel, situated in 120 acres of parkland at Woodbridge, around 8 miles from the RSPB reserves at Boyton and Hollesbury Marshes and 11 miles from Orford Ness. The hotel has 90 en-suite rooms with free Wi-Fi, a large car park and has its own golf course and spa. See the website at:
For single occupancy of a room, the price for bed, breakfast, evening meal and packed lunches will be £229.90 per person. For a shared room, the overall price will be £179.90 per person.
During the weekend we will visit several of the nature reserves along the Suffolk coast. Within easy reach are the RSPB reserves at Boyton & Hollesbury Marshes, North Warren, Snape Warren, Minsmere and Dingle Marshes and the Orford Ness National Nature Reserve to name a few!
Early booking is recommended. For booking forms contact Thelma Caine A deposit of £30 per person is required with cheques payable to the SDBWS. The full balance of payment will be required by 11th September 2020.


Bring your own cups to meetings!

As part of our ‘Green’ strategy to reduce plastic waste, the club have bought a supply of compostable cups for the refreshment break. It would however be very much appreciated if you bring your own cups to each meeting from now to further reduce waste.


David Wooldridge

We are very sad to announce that our Treasurer David Wooldridge passed away last month after a period of illness. David joined the bird club in 1983 having attended birdwatching evening classes run by our former recorder Jim Treganna. He began to involve himself in the activities of the club, attending indoor meetings and outings. He went on to become a major contributor, taking on a variety of roles over the years and was one of the leading lights of the Society.
He was a member of the club’s bird survey teams for 27 years, starting in 1987 when he took part in the Common Bird Census at Sixty Acre Wood, Chessington. The following year, he joined the Park Farm bird survey, also based in Chessington and later joined the Elmbridge Commons Bird Survey team at Esher Common from 2006 until 2014.
He enjoyed the club’s social activities and attended his first residential weekend on the visit to Norfolk in 2004, becoming a regular participant of this event thereafter.
As well as involving himself in various field activities, he became a member of the Management Committee, taking on the role of Club Chairman from 2005 until 2008. In addition to chairing Committee Meetings, this role also involved chairing the club’s monthly indoor meetings and he clearly enjoyed this role, his presentation always being delivered with his special brand of humour.
He became the Society’s Treasurer from 2010 onwards, a role he accomplished with great efficiency, not only handling all aspects of the club’s general finances but also dealing with the annual returns for the Charities Commission.
In addition to his various roles, he helped to raise the profile of the Society by supporting many of the club’s public events over the years. He made an outstanding contribution to the bird club and his loss will be keenly felt by all who knew him. We offer our condolences to Jenny, his daughters Clare and Ruth and all members of his family.


Erica Ford

Sadly, this is to inform members that Erica Ford passed away on October 24th. Erica was a longstanding member of SDBWS who, with husband Norman, regularly attended indoor meetings and took part in many outings and residential weekends as well as participating in the club’s local bird surveys. She enjoyed bird photography and frequently displayed prints on member’s evenings. She will be much missed by all who knew her. We send our condolences to Norman and all members of his family.


Winter Bird Count

A new form to record birds for this year’s Winter Bird Count is now available here. If you’ve never taken part before, please have a go. We’d like as many members as possible to join in! The aim is to watch birds regularly at one or more sites of your choosing e.g. your garden, local park or common, a farmland or river walk etc. You can take part even if you live outside our recording area. The form is designed for recording birds each fortnight. Just tick the box if you see the species at least once at the site in the two-week period. The survey runs from 16th November -15th March. At the end of the survey, please hand the form in at the March meeting.



Take a look at our Facebook page Surbiton Birds to see some of the wonderful pictures of birds taken by members on our regular outings. Join us and share your pictures too. You’ll also find notice of our outings, meetings and other events as well. If you see any bird you can’t name then take a pic, post it and our experts are sure to identify it.


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.