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.


Gary Caine

With great sadness we announce the unexpected passing of our Membership Secretary Gary Caine on 13th February 2018, following a sudden illness. Gary has been one of the club’s most active and prominent members for 38 years. He joined the SDBWS in 1980 and became an active member of several Common Bird Census teams, including Sugden Road (1982), Barwell Court (1982-2002), a survey which he also led for many years, Molesey Heath (2003-2018) and River Mole. He led his first field outing for the club in May 1987, a trip to Puttenham Common and from then on led outings to over 20 different venues for the Society over a period of 30 years. Gary joined the Management Committee in October 1991, and from the beginning took on several major roles: Membership Secretary (1991-2003), Club Secretary (2003-2008), Membership Secretary again (2008-2018) and Acting Secretary (2015-2018). In 1994 he set up a committee to organise the club’s 40th anniversary celebrations. These included a highly successful sponsored birdwatch which raised funds to buy bird feeders and nest boxes for local schools, a competition to design an anniversary logo, ordering of commemorative sweatshirts and the 40th anniversary social, which was attended by over 100 people, with past members invited to join the occasion. He also organised the club’s 50th and 60th anniversary celebrations, including the highly successful holiday to Scotland in May 2014 and since then has continued to run the club’s social evening annually. From the time he joined the Management Committee in 1991, he took part in all the club’s public events, leading walks at the Thames Water Open Days (1997-2002), and public birdwatch events in Horton Country Park and Bushy Park as well as helping to run stalls for the club at the Surbiton Festival (2011, 2012) and the Malden Craft Fair (2013-2017). He made an outstanding contribution to the club over many years and his loss will be keenly felt by all who knew him.


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 FarmTQ 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.