|Common Gulls, Bonhurst Farm, 24/11/2018.|
Patch time was again at a premium on Sunday. I visited The Ridge for the first time in a while: dreary weather, few birds and incessant gunfire had me descending faster than you can say Russian Common Gull. The female Red-crested Pochard (and hybrid offspring) were on Mill Pond but the day’s highlight was a notable count of Egyptian Geese throughout. Seven, to be precise, and clear evidence of a very quiet weekend.
In the afternoon – as we were passing – I stopped fleetingly at Tice’s Meadow. According to my notes it was my first visit since 8 September 2016. A lot has changed there and wading through the Blackwater before scrambling up the mound was no longer in order – a smart footbridge and path system, with an excellent shelter on Horton’s Mound, were all new to me. Much credit must go to the Tice’s crew for their persistent work; unfortunately, I dipped them all during my half-hour vigil.
I couldn’t pick out the Little Stint that’s been present since last week but a nice selection of gulls – including a brutish second-winter Yellow-legged – made up for that, as did a big flock of Lapwings and several whistling Wigeon. The view from Horton’s Mound looks over a seriously impressive wetland habitat. You get the feeling that, in a Surrey sense, a really big one is due there.