Monday, 13 December 2010

Return to Papercourt with SBC.

I returned to Papercourt on Sunday morning for a field trip with the Surrey Bird Club (SBC). A small gathering of five lead by Steve Chastell started off from the car park at Newark Bridge. Initial views over the damp, frozen meadows and surrounding trees produced Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch (not seen by me), Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Jackdaw, Crow, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie, Cormorant, Fieldfare, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker. After crossing the road to head towards the main pit a Sparrowhawk flew over being mobbed by a Crow with six companions in tow just in case it needed support!

The single area of unfrozen water was a great deal smaller than on my previous visit last week and contained a concentration of Coot, Mute Swan, Little Grebe (1), Great Crested Grebe (1), Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Pochard (18 males), Wigeon (1m and 1f) with Moorhen hiding beneath the overhanging vegetation. The majority of the gulls perched on the ice were Black-headed with a couple of Common Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed.
Tufties and a Common Gull.

The small pit was still totally frozen and the only new sighting added as we crossed through the farmland was a Common Snipe disturbed from its resting place.  Alongside the River Wey Navigation we searched the tree tops and eventually found Siskins feeding. Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Dunnock, Robin, Long-tailed Tits, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing and Canada Geese were also spotted. We had hoped to find the Goosanders but with the pits frozen and probable disturbance by walkers along the open waterway I guess they had relocated somewhere else. While following the Wey Navigation back towards the car park a male Stonechat was perched like a sentry on the remains of a tall thistle and unusually there were 5 Tufties on the waterway. Meadow Pipit was heard flying overhead but never sighted. 
After the walk I returned to the main pit to take a few snaps of the ice walkers - Mute Swan and Mallard. The Swan gingerly placed each foot carefully on the ice as it creaked and groaned beneath its weight. I also located a vibrant blue Kingfisher perched above the water but it .flew off before I could point the lens through the branches.
Mr. Mallard had to put the brakes on every now and again to prevent himself from sliding!

An excellent morning walk in good company with a decent tally of species seen.   FAB. 


  1. Wonderful series! Love those Swan shots.

  2. those ice walkers! Sounds like you had a good day out with the bird club. Isn't it always the way with the kingfishers. They never sit still for the camera!

  3. Sounds like an excellent morning Frank. Plenty of birds seen too.

  4. Oh man I love those ice walkers! The Mute Swan looks so ungraceful...

  5. Hi Mona. Graceful on the water but a little ponderous on the ice!

    Hi Kelly. Always fun to get out with a few more pairs of eyes. Maybe one day I'll have some luck with a Kingfisher, but don't hold your breath!

    Hi Keith. COLD but very enjoyable.

    Hi Jen. Another consumate ice walker coming up very soon. I'm sure I wouldn't look too graceful attempting to walk on the ice either .. lol.

  6. Hi Frank...some real nice photos you have here..I love the Swan with the Coots swimming around it!!

  7. You are making ice-walking birds into a specialty, Frank. I love those pics. They always leave me with a smile on my face. When it freezes here everything freezes and no birds remain behind.

  8. Hi Hilke. Well, very little else to photograph at the moment so taking what's on offer. Most of the ponds are fully frozen but the larger ones occasionally have a little open water where everything congregates.

  9. Hmm...I didn't expect the tufted duck to be so small.

  10. Steve B. May be dainty but not as small as a Teal!


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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