March will be fondly remembered for the well-twitched pair of BLACK REDSTARTS, a female and an immature male which would have been put down as a female had it not sung! The birds were found on the 28th and stayed till 4th April. This was the first record of Black Redstart for Canons Farm and Banstead Woods and is a very good local record.
This wasn't the only first for CFBW in March; on the 16th a RAVEN flew fairly low south west at 5.43pm. It was noted again two days later.
There was one other particularly good bird seen this month, one that is seen regularly and sometimes in good numbers at nearby Banstead Downs but that never seems to like it at CFBW. There is only a small number of records of Firecrest at CFBW and one found on 26th represents the latest of these. It was a shame that the news was completely received too late, purely because of email problems, and that more people couldn't have seen it.
Peregrine has not been regular at CFBW in the last few months and a sighting on the 23rd represented the first sighting of the year, this has been a lot trickier lately than we thought it would be.
The first Northern Wheatears of the spring were found on 22nd. There was only one other Northern Wheatear during the month, a female of 30th but April saw many, many more records of this species. Other first dates for migrants include 18th for Chiffchaff, 21st for Sand Martin and 26th for Blackcap.
As for 'classic CFBW birds', a Marsh Tit, an increasingly scarce species at the site was present in Ruffet Wood 17th-18th only and represents the only record of the year. We fear that the species may now be extinct at the site because we've walked through Banstead Woods countless times and never located one. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers were noted on
1st, 6th, 14th, 22nd, 26th and 27th. 1-3 Bramblings were noted on the 3rd.
A night visit for the very purpose of observing Tawny Owls was successful with a pair calling (the male
was seen). A Red Kite was seen flying west on 5th. Stonechat passage was strong. Woodcocks were seen on 7th and 20th. Siskins weren't particularly numerous, a bird calling overhead on the 6th was the first record of the year and this was followed by one that showed well with Lesser Redpolls (a bird that was seen quite a lot during March, including gatherings of 30+ on 16th and 17th; these gatherings included some singing, summer plumaged birds and some were even performing song-flights) on the 9th and another flying over on 21st. Single Greylags were seen on on 21st and 23rd while two were seen on 13th, it turns out this species, although not very common, can be seen at CFBW with relative ease if enough time is put in. As it goes, they are not much commoner than Canada Geese (in fact some people have been finding it harder to find these than Greylags!). 40-50+ Meadow Pipits on 21st was an impressive count.