September and October 2016

Counts of ducks have increased with good numbers of Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted and Pochard. Quite a few Red-crested Pochard and a few Mandarin and Pintail were also found. Large numbers of Egyptian Goose and Canada Goose were recorded and at Esher (13th October) the Canadas were accompanied by a feral Barnacle Goose.

Seven wader species were discovered, mostly at Kempton Nature Reserve and various reservoirs. Walton and Kempton often had up to six Common Snipe and one or two single sightings of Jack Snipe. Walton had a single Ruff in the third week of September and a few days later three Dunlin. Island Barn had Common Sandpiper in September and Green Sandpiper and Redshank in October. Kempton had both sandpipers in September and Sunnyside Reservoir had a Green Sandpiper in October. Walton also turned up a Black Tern (13th September) and Ringed Plover (16th). This reservoir also had around 40 Lapwing on 5th September while Kempton had them from mid-September to October, reaching around 40 on the 16th. Other water birds of interest were three Black-necked Grebe at Island Barn Reservoir on 14th September and a Water Rail on the Hogsmill River (at the sewage works) on 31st October. The most surprising was a “salt-water” bird at Teddington Lock, a single Guillemot on 14th October.

Only two owl records were received which were: a Tawny Owl at Hogsmill Sewage Works 9th September and a Little Owl at Esher 13th October. As usual birds of prey were represented by single Kestrel and single Sparrowhawk records in various places and Common Buzzard, mostly over the more rural areas of our square. There were four sightings each of Red Kite and Peregrine at various places and on various dates. The summer visitor Hobby was only seen in September and mostly at Kempton Nature Reserve and Walton Reservoir in ones, twos or threes.

Two more summer visitors, Swallow and House Martin, were seen in September in various places and in quite big numbers. The last sighting was of two swallows flying steadily south on 4th October. Warbler records were much reduced with one Blackcap at Kempton Nature Reserve 6th September and a Lesser Whitethroat on Molesey Heath 22nd. Cetti’s Warbler are resident and were found several times on Molesey Heath and at Walton Reservoir. Chiffchaff were seen in numbers at the same two sites. Although they are migratory some chiffchaff over-winter in our area and may account for those seen in ones and two elsewhere in our square.

At this time of year there are usually a few records of rare migrants passing through and in this period they were Wheatear at Island Barn Reservoir (one 11th September and two 18th) and a Whinchat at Bushy Park (25th September). On 23rd of October a Water Pipit was recorded at Walton Reservoir.

Some winter visitors have already been seen in October: a Fieldfare (23rd at Molesey Heath), Redwing (5 at Rushett Farm on the 8th and 3 at Esher on the 13th) and Siskin (6 at Stain Hill Reservoir on the 9th and about 50 at Prince’s Coverts on the 16th). There are always more records of some species in autumn and winter and examples from October are Song Thrush (three sites) and Linnet (four sites).

Many thanks to those who contributed to this report. They were: Abrahams D., Clark K., Fitzgerald B., Gale J., Hannam J., Kiddell D., Peggs G., Quinn A., Sherlock C., Spencer P., Stannard E., Tregenza P., Trim C., Turner C., White M. and Wilkinson C.,