Friday, 27 February 2009


My first trip in months! I've been addicted to Beddington SF.

2 Siskins around The Ave and the main grassland area
5 Green Woodpeckers, mainly at and around Warren Farm
several Stock Doves and Coal Tits
1 Nuthatch
1 Kestrel at Warren Farm
c20 Fieldfares near the ponds with a large number of Redwings

Monday, 10 November 2008


A brilliant day with four local patch ticks, bringing my Nonsuch Park list to 61.
LESSER REDPOLL c3 showing well in low vegetation at Warren Farm
LINNET c4 at Warren Farm
MEADOW PIPIT c5 at Warren Farm
SKYLARK 1 over
+ 1 Little Owl, Green Woodpeckers, Jackdaws etc.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Recent watching


2 Siskins near ponds with Goldfinches
1 Redwing over
2 Mistle Thrushes near ponds
4+ Green Woodpeckers (second no dogs area, around woods etc)
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker near ponds
3 Nuthatch (1 woods, 1 gardens, 1 ponds)
c5 Goldcrest (gardens and woods)
1 Song Thrush (gardens)
6 Stock Doves
2 Coal Tit (1 gardens, 1 near 1st no dogs area)


1 Little Owl (heard north of mansion house)
1 Grey Heron (over edge of Cheam park)
1 Pied Wagtail (Cheam Park)
c10 Redwings
1 Nuthatch
4 Green Woodpeckers
1 Song Thrush
1 Sparrowhawk (gardens)
2 Mistle Thrush

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Nonsuch Park in the movies!

From Friday 2nd to Saturday 4th October the Mansion House and the Gardens in Nonsuch Park were used as a setting for filming of a sequence in the family film 'From Time to Time' with Timothy Spall and Maggie Smith. Not good news for me because there were tonnes of caravans which were putting the birds off and blocking the cafe and some essential footpaths. Anyway, it will be interesting to see Nonsuch on the big screen.


Another good day.

1 Pied Wagtail (something like 3rd or 4th record here for me), 2 Nuthatch (1 near Mansion House, 1 near ponds), 1 Kestrel (male north east of ponds), c15 Goldcrests (gardens, ponds etc), 1 Coal Tit (gardens), 9+ Mistle Thrushes (around Mansion House), 1 Stock Dove (over), 1 Chiffchaff (ponds), 2 Moorhens (ponds)


A quick after school trip for an hour produced to good quality Nonsuch birds, including a Nonsuch lifer for myself- Great Black-backed Gull.
1 Great Black-backed Gull (juv/1st winter type) over, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 1 Common Gull (1st of the winter excluding the July bird), 2 Grey Wagtails (second for Nonsuch), 2 Nuthatches, c3 Goldcrests, c3 Coal Tits, 9 Stock Doves, c15 Jackdaws

Saturday, 27 September 2008


I think I broke my day list record for Nonsuch Park today with 34 species seen or heard.
Some of these species were great patch birds. Species in bold are occasional visitors to the site, others are resident or seasonal but in low numbers.
Swallow (1 south 1st site record for me) Pied Wagtail (1 over near ponds, 3rd site record), Grey Heron (regular in winter but scarce in autumn), 24+ Jays (all over the place), 2 Green Woodpeckers (1 near ponds, 1 at north end), 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, (mainly around ponds), 3 Nuthatches (2 in gardens, 1 c500m north of ponds), 10+ Goldcrests (mainly around gardens), 1+ Chiffchaff, 1 Kestrel (near ponds), 1 Sparrowhawk (over ponds), 1 Moorhen (ponds), c10 Jackdaws, 2+ Mistle Thrushes, 2 Stock Doves.

So, in summary, an awful lot of patch scarcities but no decent migrants despite 4 hours of almost non-stop thorough watching. I am surprised I didn't have another Buzzard or Peregrine as it looked pretty good for raptors with Gulls circling on thermals. No sign of the Hobbies today... perhaps they've left. I think they probably have as it was a clear, sunny day with a fair number of dragonflies and still no sign...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

What a day: 20/09/2008

This has probably turned out to be the best day at Nonsuch Park this year, if not ever, with two much needed and very exciting Nonsuch lifers for me and a lot of other good local patch birds.
Here are the highlights:

1 COMMON BUZZARD, flying north over at 4:43pm. 1 female PEREGRINE from the north then drifted towards Sutton mobbed, by presumably one of the regular, Hobbies which went into full blown high speed dives at the Peregrine. The former two are Nonsuch lifers for me. I expect the Peregrine was the Sutton bird. I saw another Peregrine from the same viewpoint, at Cheam Park, about 3 miles away, attacking a Gull (to no avail). I don't know if this is the same bird or not.

Above: Peregrine

Above: Common Buzzard

Also present today: 2 Green Woodpeckers (1 heard at the gardens and one flying over the enclosed area, no dogs area, 2 by the southern most car park), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker (heard in the gardens), 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull (with Black-headed Gulls at Cheam Park), 14 Jays (all over), 17+ Jackdaws (mainly around the gardens), 1 Nuthatch (heard at the gardens), 4 Stock Doves (2 over main grassland area and 2 in dead tree near mansion house) , 1 Chiffchaff (in hedge at second no dogs area which is the enclosed area by the southern most car park), 7 Mistle Thrushes (open short grass area overlooked by the Cheam end car park) and 1 Blackcap (heard alarm calling by the first dogs area, the enclosed area near the Cheam end car park).

Saturday, 13 September 2008


3 hours from around 2:30pm to 5:30pm gave me the following highlights at the park:

1 Little Owl, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Nuthatch, c8 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, c3 Jackdaws, 1 Moorhen, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, c20 Ring-necked Parakeets.

Directions for anyone interested:

The Little Owl was in the thick young plantation adjacent to the gardens, near the mansion house.

The Kestrel was around the old oaks c200m north of the mansion house along the main concrete path.

The Sparrowhawk flew over the Cheam end car park and appeared to settle in the woods.

The Nuthatch was heard calling near the ponds.

The Green Woodpeckers were as follows: 2 near Cheam end car park, 2 at the first no dogs area near the aviary, 1 at the edge of the woods, 2 at the old oaks c200m north of the mansion house, 1 at the second no dogs area near the south car park. Though some of these could involve the same birds.

The Goldcrest was heard singing around the edge of the gardens from a conifer.

The Coal Tit was calling around the Cheam end car park

The Lesser Black-backed Gull stayed for 3 minutes (4:33pm-4:36pm) at ND2, my 8th record for the site.

The Jackdaws flew over the old oaks c200m north of the mansion house.

The Moorhen was heard amongst the Reeds at the ponds.

The Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard calling from the area of scrub north of the ponds.

The Ring-necked Parakeets were all over the place.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

2nd September 08

2 Hobby around Mansion House 16:00hrs. Also 4 Stock Doves, c20 Ring-necked Parakeets, 5 Jays (3 near mansion house 2 in gardens), 1 Nuthatch (north of mansion house), 3 Mistle Thrush (around mansion house), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker (near balancing ponds) and 1 Kestrel (north of mansion house), 1 Moorhen (ponds)

The Hobbies were briefer this time. First 1 was seen flying by the first no dogs area and landed in a tall tree in plain view in the woods then 2 were seen hunting around the gardens at 16:00hrs.

Still haven't found myself a Whinchat yet....

Friday, 29 August 2008

27th August 08

Today's highlights:
2 Hobbies, 4 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Kestrels, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 5+ Stock Doves, 1 Moorhen, 40+ Jackdaws, 13+ Ring-necked Parakeets, 38 Magpies

The Hobbies were very good, at first I saw only one hawking around but on my way back there were 2 circling for quite a while, going for the passing Gulls, is one newly arrived or just been elusive, or it has been on the nest while the other has been hunting!?!? A possible breeding record here! I think that one of the birds must be last September's juvenile; less than a year on, back from Africa at the same site and possibly breeding! 1 Kestrel was c200m north of the mansion house near the mature trees and another was by the ponds. Green Woodpeckers were pretty spread out but 2 of them were at the second no dogs area which is adjacent to the southern most car park. The Stock Doves were spread out throughout the site, the Moorhen was by the ponds. The large group of Jackdaws were in the same area as the 1st Kestrel I mentioned and Ring-necked Parakeets and Magpies were obvious throughout.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008


Above: Treecreeper

Today's highlights: 1 Treecreeper (my second site record) (c200m north of mansion house), 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls over (my 7th site record), 41 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Kestrels, 2 Sparrowhawks, c5 Stock Doves, 1 Nuthatch, c40 Ring-necked Parakeets, 1 Mistle Thrush, 2 Jays, 3 Green Woodpeckers, c2 Goldcrest.

The Treecreeper was the first I've seen here for a few years and was in a large Tit flock. I guess this species is heavily under recorded at the park and they may well breed but it was a great bird. It froze when I stumbled upon it for the second time and allowed brilliant views.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The month ahead: Nonsuch Park in September

The attention at the park turns from young Kestrels to large numbers of Jays with peak counts of around 30 (total of nearly 100 sightings in the few visits I've made in this month). Autumn migration is still in full swing and you have a very good chance of gripping me off with a potential Nonsuch lifer for me! Kestrels are still around but more wary. Gulls start improving with records of settled Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls rising in number. There's a chance that someone will find a Yellow-legged or Mediterranean one of these days. The prime area for Gulls is the playing fields at Cheam Park.

Below is a list of the 36 species of birds you may come across in September based on my records. The number is the difficulty to see each species (1 is hardest, 5 is easiest)

Black-headed Gull (5)
Blackbird (4)
Blackcap (1)
Blue Tit (2)
Carrion Crow (5)
Chiffchaff (2)
Coal Tit (2)
Dunnock (1)
Feral Pigeon (2)
Goldcrest (2)
Goldfinch (3)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (4)
Great Tit (4)
Green Woodpecker (3)
Greenfinch (2)
Grey Heron (1)
Herring Gull (2)
Hobby (1)
House Martin (1)
Jackdaw (4)
Jay (5)
Kestrel (4)
Lesser Black-backed Gull (1)
Long-tailed Tit (1)
Magpie (5)
Mistle Thrush (1)
Nuthatch (3)
Ring-necked Parakeet (5)
Robin (2)
Song Thrush (1)
Sparrowhawk (1)
Starling (4)
Stock Dove (2)
Wheatear (1)
Woodpigeon (5)
Wren (2)

August at Nonsuch

August at Nonsuch Park sees the tame young Kestrels that are very photographable. They seem to appear at the begginning of the month and disappear pretty strictly around the end so if you want good Kestrel pictures, this is the time and the place to visit.

Throughout the park, birds seem to be very quiet; even the Chiffchaffs have fallen silent (mostly!).

Swifts are making a move and the most you'll get is small numbers very high up, migrating but they are hard to spot. Other summer migrants are still around but are very hard to locate. Blackcaps are probably the most obvious (and the only ones you are likely to see) with their alarm calls.

Gull flocks grow in size, but at this point mainly contain Black-headed Gulls. You have to be lucky to get a settled Herring Gull (though these are frequent fly-overs) let alone a Common or Lesser Black-backed at this stage. These will come later on in the year.

This is a good month for passage migrants, with birds like Whinchats on the move in August across the country you stand a chance of seeing one in the park (they have been seen in the past, but by people other than me unfortunately!).

Here is a list of 38 Birds that you are likely to see in August (based on my own records). Note that August is a poorly recorded month because I go on holiday in this month for half of it and I only started recorded the site thoroughly in the last year or two so these do not fully represent the birds to be found this month, though they do give a rough idea.
The numbers represent difficulty to see (1 being hardest, 8 being easiest)

Black-headed Gull (5)
Blackbird (7)
Blackcap (1)
Blue Tit (4)
Carrion Crow (8)
Chaffinch (5)
Coal Tit (1)
Dunnock (2)
Feral Pigeon (7)
Goldcrest (4)
Goldfinch (3)
Great Spotted Woodpecker (5)
Great Tit (2)
Green Woodpecker (6)
Greenfinch (4)
Grey Heron (1)
Herring Gull (2)
Hobby (2)
House Sparrow (2)
Jackdaw (5)
Jay (4)
Kestrel (7)
Little Owl (1)
Long-tailed Tit (3)
Magpie (8)
Mallard (1)
Mistle Thrush (3)
Moorhen (1)
Nuthatch (2)
Ring-necked Parakeet (6)
Robin (6)
Song Thrush (1)
Sparrowhawk (5)
Starling (5)
Stock Dove (6)
Swift (1)
Woodpigeon (7)
Wren (3)


Highlights from today: 1 Hobby, 1+ Sparrowhawk, 1 Jay, 4 Stock Doves, c30 Ring-necked Parakeets, c9 Green Woodpeckers, 2+ Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Song Thrushes

Rarer birds of Nonsuch Park

Just for the interest of it I searched through my Nonsuch records on birdtrack and found some of the rarer Birds for Nonsuch, that take a bit more searching, with just a few recent records. Here they are:
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 1 record
Wheatear 1 record
Grey Wagtail 1 record
House Martin 1 record
Pied Wagtail 3 records
Hobby 2 records
Lesser Black-backed Gull 6 records
Common Gull 8 records

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


Above: Green Woodpecker
Above: Black-headed Gull

Nonsuch Park 1 unidentified large bird of prey north west over the gardens briefly at 2:18pm, 1 Little Owl near the mansion house, c4 Sparrowhawk (c3 woods bordering Nonsuch and Cheam Park, 1 gardens), c8 Green Woodpecker (gardens, no dogs/picnic areas 1 and 2), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker (woods bordering Nonsuch and Cheam Park), 2 Stock Dove (1 Cheam Park, 1 gardens), 2 Jackdaw (Cheam Park), c20 Ring-necked Parakeets (all over), c19 Mistle Thrushes (near mansion house), 1 Goldcrest (gardens), 1 Kestrel (female) (main grassland area), 1 Nuthatch (gardens), 2 Swift (over Cheam Park)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

17th Aug 08

I'm back from France now (report will be on shortly). And am straight back into local patching. Because I'm writing the report I currently only really have time to give a quick summary of today's birds:
1+ Hobby (flying over), 2 Kestrel, c7 Stock Dove, 1 Moorhen, 1 Mallard, 1 Grey Heron (flying over), 5 Green Woodpecker, 2 Jackdaw, c18 Ring-necked Parakeet, 2 Sparrowhawk

Bold = unusual/unseasonal visitor others are seasonal/resident but in low numbers.

Thursday, 31 July 2008


A brief eveing visit only around the northern end:

Sightings summary (bold=occasional/rare visitor to the park, others are resident/seasonal but in low numbers or simply interesting)

11 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, c20 Jackdaw, 5+ Goldcrest, 40+ Ring-necked Parakeet, 2 Jay, 3+ Sparrowhawk including juveniles, 5+ Long-tailed Tit, 11 Black-headed Gull, 3 Stock Dove, 1 Greenfinch


Green Woodpeckers: 1 juvenile 1 adult female in the gardens. 2 juvenile and one adult near the conifers just north of the aviary others heard around the aviary and edges of the gardens and the woods bordering Cheam Park and Nonsuch Park.
Great Spotted Woodpecker: 1 heard in the woods bordering Nonsuch Park and Cheam Park.
Jackdaws: About 20 flew to roost in the woods bordering Nonsuch Park and Cheam Park.
Goldcrest: 5+ in conifers just north of the aviary with a flock of Tits.
Ring-necked Parakeets: Large numbers calling and flying around woods borderig Cheam Park and Nonsuch Park especially when disturbed by Sparrowhawk.
Jay: 1 Near aviary and one heard in the same area.
Sparrowhawk: 2+ heard (probably the juveniles) and one (not sure of age but male) circling above woods bordering Cheam Park and Nonsuch Park mobbed by Carrion Crows and disturbing Ring-necked Parakeets.
Long-tailed Tit: 5+ with tit flock in conifers just north of aviary
11 Black-headed Gull: Mainly on the open area over looked by the northern most car park.
3 Stock Dove: Flying around just north of the aviary.
1 Greenfinch: 1 in flight just north of the aviary.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


A good day at the park with the highlights summarised below and given more detail at the bottom (rare patch visitors in bold, others are regular/seasonal but in low numbers or in the case of Ring-necked Parakeet, interesting)

1 Hobby, 20+ Ring-necked Parakeet, c200 Black-headed Gull, 3 juvenile Sparrowhawk, 6 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Mistle Thrush, 1 Stock Dove, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Moorhen , 16+ Herring Gulls over

Further details on the above:

The Hobby was seen flying low over the conifers near the aviary. Could be last year's juvenile that is summering here as a young non-breeder?
The Sparrowhawks were very vocal and were chasing eachother around the woods that border Nonsuch Park and Cheam Park.
Green Woodpeckers were mainly heard but good views were had of one at the second no-dogs area (ND2) which is the enclosed area that the southern most car park overlooks. The usual female and juvenile were feeding the the gardens. I still haven't seen the male.
Ring-necked Parakeets are becoming increasingly vocal now that breeding is finished and their numbers are boosted by the juveniles that I have seen quite often. They are easy to spot with their shorter tails.
Black-headed Gulls were at their highest so far this season with at least 102 at the playing field at Cheam Park (more birds constantly dropping in). A single 2nd summer Lesser Black-backed Gull joined them. Numbers of Black-headed Gulls were seen flying over and there were about 50 more feeding at the second no-dogs area (again, numbers constantly increasing).
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker flew into the gardens and started climbing a conifer.
3 Mistle Thrushes were present around the gardens.
1 Stock Dove was seen in flight around the main grassland area.
1 Song Thrush was heard singing near the ponds.
1 tiny and downy Moorhen was seen at the ponds and an adult was heard (second brood?)
Finally, 16+ Herring Gulls were seen flying over the site.

Finches today included a single Goldfinch over the second no-dogs area, about 20 Greenfinch throughout the whole site, and about 10 Chaffinch around the gardens and aviary. They were all very vocal and obvious today.

Monday, 28 July 2008


Just another quick evening trip around the top half of the park.
Near aviary c3 probable Common Crossbills briefly in flight and calling- couldn't locate afterwards (just need them to settle!)
And just around the top half of the park in general: 3 Green Woodpecker (no juveniles today), c20 Ring-necked Parakeet, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Stock Dove, 2 Jay

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Recent sightings


3 Stock Dove, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4+ Green Woodpecker, 1 Sparrowhawk, c20 Ring-necked Parakeet, c20 Black-headed Gulls, 3+ Mistle Thrush, 2 Jackdaw


1 probable Crossbill, 1 Hobby, 1 Common Gull, 4+ Green Woodpeckers showing well including juveniles, 4 Jackdaw, 3 Jay, c30 Ring-necked Parakeets set up by male Sparrowhawk, 2+ juvenile Sparrowhawks (still slightly downy) in woods (first breeding record!)


Best of the morning and evening trips today:

4+ Green Woodpecker (including juveniles), 2 Coal Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 2 Collared Dove (rare for site), 2+ Goldcrest, c30 Black-headed Gull, 20+ Ring-necked Parakeet, 4 Mistle Thrush (including juvs), 2 Stock Dove, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 11 Jackdaw, 10+ Greenfinch, 1 Song Thrush No sign of Crossbill after search in morning and evening

Saturday, 19 July 2008


My late summer bird atlas 2007-11 survey. A fairly quick trip between 2:30pm and 5:30pm. Not much birdwise with only 16 species. Highlights were 1 male Sparrowhawk carrying prey and then seen again later over the same spot (the woods at the border of Cheam and Nonsuch Park). A female Kestrel was seen nearby on the grass at the patch that the Cheam end car park over looks and it then flew over the the mansion house gardens were it was later seen again. There were several Green Woodpeckers, two or three families with a juvenile each. Several Black-headed Gulls were settled and flying over. Herring Gulls were often seen flying over today. Ring-necked Parakeets were few and far between today with only about four being seen. There were no Stock Doves or Great Spotted Woodpeckers either. The lack of birds today must have been because of some loud music being played in the gardens for some event and the amount of people there for the event itself.

Saturday, 12 July 2008


An expectional day today, I equalled my record day total for this site of 31 sp. Some good birds too- 1 HOBBY 2nd site record+ first adult. Flew from Cheam Park to ND1 at 2:48pm. Also 2 Kestrel (females, 1 ND1 1 ND2- ND1 bird showed very well), 2 Stock Dove (gardens), 1 female 1 juvenile Mallard (first confirmed breeding record- balancing ponds), 2 Moorhen (balancing ponds), 4+ Green Woodpecker, 2 Jay, 6 Mistle Thrush at 2nd no dogs (including juvs), c30 Black-headed Gull (ND1, ND2, short grassland in front of Cheam car park- 5 juveniles altogether) (first settled Gulls of the season), 5+ Herring Gull over, c10 Ring-necked Parakeet (not many today and the ones that were there were quite elusive) , 1 Chiffchaff (singing near balacing ponds), 1 Blackcap (singing near gardens), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker (mansion house), 3 Jackdaw (gardens).

Saturday, 5 July 2008

4th July 08

A quick evening vist with some good birds. There were a lot of Stock Doves and the usual Ring-necked Parakeets. Quite a few Song Thrushes were singing with one showing well. A couple of Chiffchaffs were singing and one was showing well by the ponds. Other warblers including a singing Blackcap. Woodpeckers included 3 Great Spotted and 4 Green. A Mistle Thrush was present near the gardens and at least 2 Moorhens were seen by the ponds. 2 Grey Herons flew north west at around 8:15pm and a female Kestrel flew to Cheam Park from the large open area with short grass which the Cheam end car park over looks.

Nonsuch Park bird report 2008 is being written and will be printed in December.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

21st June 08

A quiet day at Nonsuch. I went round for two hours or so and saw the usual species. Highlights were Green Woodpecker, Kestrel, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Moorhen, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and Coal Tit. No additions to my Nonsuch year list but I have seen 46 species so far this year at the park.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Nonsuch Park 28th May 08

Another trip to Nonsuch. On arrival I saw a falcon fly overhead, which I first thought to be a Hobby (very brief, no bins) but I later re-found it perched and it was a Kestrel. Several Stock Doves were present and Green Woodpeckers were popping up all over the place. I spotted a Collared Dove in the gardens and it was singing. This is a site lifer and until now was my bogey bird for Nonsuch Park. A Nuthatch showed well in the gardens. There were many singing Blackcaps and a possible Garden Warbler singing but it wouldn't show to be certain. Only one Chiffchaff was heard today. At the ponds a Moorhen was heard and 2 drake 1 female Mallard flew up.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Nonsuch 9th April 2008

Another trip to Nonsuch today, focussing on the western half, aka Ewell end. I checked the scrubby area at the furthest point first. It wasn't as good as I remember with only a couple of Chiffchaffs singing and a Blackcap. Next I went to Warren Farm where there were some House Sparrows, my first for the year at Nonsuch and an increasingly scarce bird at the site. There were about 5 Jays in the scrub and woodland around the edges too and I saw a male Sparrowhawk circling in the distance from the farm. Next I went to the ponds, where there was a drake and female Mallard and three Moorhen with a singing Chiffchaff or two in the area. Green Woodpeckers were plentiful as were Blackcaps with at least 6 present. Just as I was leaving, there was a female Kestrel dust bathing in the non concrete car park right next to the school.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Nonsuch Park 7/4/08

Another trip to Nonsuch (there will be many in the next two weeks as I'm off school).
There were no Gulls today on the Cheam Park playing fields, I think the majority have gone to breed at more coastal sites now. There were several Green Woodpeckers on site and one or two Great-spotteds were heard. Tits seen were Blue, Great and Long-tailed. A Goldcrest was seen in the woods near the 1st no dogs area (ND1). A Mistle Thrush was heard singing. The Little Owl was present again. It was in the same tree just north of the mansion house, past the fence until a dog walker, or rather his dog, flushed it and it flew past the fence into the plantation of young trees where it was mobbed by Tits and Blackbirds. It was eventually driven into the gardens where a pair of Mistle Thrushes added to the gang mobbing it, it then flew into another tree; we decided to go so we wouldn't cause it more stress. The ponds produced a single Moorhen and a Chiffchaff or two were singing around there. There were around 23 Magpies on site, a record.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Nonsuch 30th March 2008

I ended up at Nonsuch again on the 30th and when I set off I didn't know how good it was going to be!
Soon after walking into the woods I spotted a gorious male Sparrowhawk flying into a tree! I have always wanted to see a male perhed and it sat there for about 5 minutes preening.
Another highlight was a Weasel running around at Cheam Park. It kept running in and out of bushes making a 'pssst' noise. There was the usual stuff around the park and the Green Woodpeckers were really noticable as they are starting to breed now.
I had a look for the Little Owl I heard a couple of weeks before but couldn't find it but just as I was making my way to the mansion house to have a snack in the cafe, I heard one in a nearby tree, after looking at all angles for it I eventually spotted it and phoned Phil who was soon on the scene. Before he arrived, the same Sparrowhawk circled low over me. Phil and I continued on together and we saw Goldcrest in the gardens. We were both pleased with the shots that he managed.
I did take photos and I will put them on the blog as soon as I have time.

Friday, 28 March 2008

A blogging game and an early Chiffchaff

I have been tagged by a blogger namely gallicissa for this blogger type of chain letter! The point of the game is to write a 6-word meme describing your inner birder and then pass it off to 5 more bloggers.
I am meant to, if I can, put a picture with it too but seeing as I have only had my camera back for a while and have taken almost no decent pictures I can't.
Here's my meme
"screeching devil birds make my summer"
I couldn't really think of anything better. I'm not that poetic.

RE: Nonsuch Park, I am pretty sure that I'm going tomorrow so I'll have a report for you tomorrow evening.

Following southerly winds and rain last night I went to Banstead Downs before school, the only migrant was a Chiffchaff heard singing around 7:30am, probably too early for a decent number of migrants to be grounded. Although there were a couple of odd birds flying over going 'chee chooo'. No idea what they were!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

A Visitor's Guide to Nonsuch Park

This is a breif visitor's guide to the park, giving details on directions, access and birding at Nonsuch Park.


This is a large park in the middle of Cheam, parts are wilder than others and this park gets large numbers of dog walkers during all day light hours. The site does however occasionally turn up locally interesting birds. It is made up of long and short grassland, woodland and scrub. There are a couple of small ponds. The site has only been watched seriously by me for the last year so more is to be found out about its birdlife, particularly its migrants in spring and autumn.


From the T junction in Cheam continue west, along your right hand side you should see the park behind the trees. Where there is a turning in the road, there is a momument, turn into the park here for the Cheam car park next to Nonsuch High School. For the two Ewell end car parks follow London Road along Stoneleigh heading towards or from Ewell, the two car parks should be obvious, easily spotted by monuments and gates.

General Birds

82 species have been seen here including passage migrants such as Hobby, Northern Wheatear and several warbler species (a Dartford Warbler has been seen here in the past). The site has resident Little Owl and a pair of Teal winter most years on the small ponds at the South-West end. A variety of Warblers can be found in the areas of scrub. Among the locally scarce birds seen at the park Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, Woodcock and Dartford Warbler stand out. Ring-necked Parakeet are common and Green Woodpecker are often seen here. There is the usual mix of common woodland species found in the woodland areas.


At many times some paths are very muddy and some may find these impossible to deal with. Some areas of the park are too rough for people with wheelchairs or walking disabilities etc. If unsure stick to the main paths.Warning: ND3 (see Key Areas) can be flooded, particularly around winter and once you've got in it can be tricky to get out as the gate letting you out onto the concrete path is often surrounded by deep water, observers have been trapped on this effective 'island' for about half an hour in the past!
There are three car parks around the site. One next to Nonsuch High School for Girls (if this is full continue down 'The Ave', passing the main car park and turn first right before the gate, continue until you turn right towards the stoarage buildings and there is a car park there, do not continue straight on and park in front of the mansion house; and you should reach the car park, can be accessed from the A232 (Ewell Road) . The other two can be accessed from London Road running along Stoneleigh.


The gates open just before dawn and close just after dusk, the official closing time is obviously displayed at the car parks.


There is a cafe serving snacks, hot and cold drinks etc and there are toilets near the mansion house.

Key Areas

The no-dogs areas throughout the park are undoubtedly the best for any slightly unusual birds and most previous interesting finds have been here. These areas are clearly visible as they are fenced off and labelled as no-dogs areas. It is recommended that you scan the areas from the gate before you enter and look for birds in the productive hedgerows that surround these areas because, as you know, any shy migrants or birds of interest will fly away.
The gardens are well worth a look and hosted a long-staying juvenile Hobby in August/September 2007. The gardens are a no dog no cycle area too, and because of this and the woodland, open areas and the mansion house in this area, it is probably one of the best areas of the site, if not the best.
The 1st no dogs area that you come across if you come through the park from the Cheam end, or 'ND1', as it is known is the best area for Green Woodpeckers in the summer, other than this it has little of interest (in February 2007 a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker was in a tree in this area). The second no dogs area from Cheam or 'ND2' is also good for Green Woodpeckers but wins over ND1 in having regular Fieldfares and Redwings on the ground here. A Northern Wheatear stayed here for a day in the autumn of 2007, though this species may be more regular than thought.
The final of the no dogs areas, 'ND3' is just south east of the eastern Ewell end car park and this under watched area hosts Fieldfares and Redwings during the winter, Pied Wagtails are regular and large numbers of Carrion Crows gather here. Be warned this can be a tricky area, there are huge puddles around winter and once you get in, particularly if you crossed the dyke near the ponds onto this side of the park earlier on and are heading east, it can be extremely difficult to get out without having to walk a long way back to where you crossed over before. Ring-necked Parakeets, which are found throughout the park, come here to drink when the area is flooded.
All woodland around the site hosts common woodland species and the areas of scrub, particularly behind the huge, over grown hedgerow running parallel to 'The Ave' (the big concrete path around the edge of the park) after it turns and runs along the end of the path (this area is often very over grown with nettles and it is recommended that you come with the appropriate protective clothing if you are planning to tackle the closing gaps in the hedge to access this area), are good for Warblers and other species. Perhaps easier areas of scrub to access include those around Warren Farm (South of the park) cross 'The Ave' and go through the woods and you should end up there. Around the edges there are some areas which are good for Warblers in the summer and Stonechat in the winter.
There are few other habitats to be found at the park but the Mansion house sometimes has Pied Wagtail on it and the ponds just north of ND2, across the dyke are worth a look for resident breeding Moorhen, occasional Mallard and a pair of wintering Teal. Chiffchaff and Grey Wagtail have been seen here. The huge open area, which has long grass in the summer is good for Kestrel, and the juveniles are very confiding in August letting you get extremely close to them. Gulls are found at any area with short grass in the winter and the flocks are worth scanning for any interesting species. The best area for Gulls is Cheam Park, just north of ND1 and through the woods, where there are playing fields towards the more north-easterly side of the area. Here Gulls numbers are nearly always well into the hundreds and football games often concentrate the Gulls into one area. This area is good for Green Woodpecker too. For trip reports from this site visit

If you have any questions about the site please email

David Campbell 20th March 2008

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Nonsuch Park 15/3/08

I went to Nonsuch park from just after noon to about 4:30 pm today, half of that time Phil Wallice was there. We did the usual route, there were large numbers of Green Woodpeckers present and a Jay was heard. Ring-necked Parakeets were even more noticable today. There was a Mistle Thrush feeding on the first no dogs area. Today, Stock Doves were active with 3 birds seen. Tits were all over the place today with Long-tailed, Blue and Great being seen in large numbers. Gulls weren't so obvious with only a few on the playing fields and a few circling high overhead. A Song Thrush showed well in the gardens where a Kestrel was seen flying towards the main grassland area. A single calling Chiffchaff was present around the ponds where two or three Moorhens were seen. One of the other more interesting birds of the day was a calling Little Owl (which I failed to locate) in mature oak trees c200m north north east of the mansion house.

Friday, 7 March 2008

House Martin record

After another long session of putting all my old records onto birdtrack I have found a record of a House martin at Nonsuch Park on the 11th September 2005. An addition to the list, I suppose it is an armchair Nonsuch tick! Not often that happens for Nonsuch.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Nonsuch Park 23rd February 2008

I went with Phil to Nonsuch again today, and stayed for 2 hours 50 minutes in the afternoon. As with the other day, there were large numbers of Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Magpies, Ring-necked Parakeets, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wrens, Robins and Blackbirds. Thrushes today included Mistle Thrush, Redwing (lots of these), Fieldfare (two on 2nd no dogs) and the previously mentioned Blackbirds. There was at least one Great-spotted Woodpecker around, Jackdaws were present and there were several Dunnocks. Starlings were seen flying overhead and Gulls seen overhead/on the short grass included Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls though there were no Commons today. A few Stock Doves were seen at the North-east end. Two Green Woodpeckers were present today, one of which of heard only, the other only being seen breifly near the 'young' pond. At least one Nuthatch was seen, one Goldcrest was seen near the 2nd no dogs area. Two Moorhens were a pleasant surprise at the ponds, but the bird of the day was undoubtedly the Grey Wagtail seen at the ponds, it was a female and showed very well, being a Nonsuch lifer for me and Phil (and a year bird for both of us too!). It wasn't just a super day because of this sighting though, we almost managed to equal my personal record for Nonsuch in one trip, getting 30 species today (my record is 31!). I don't know if this record is related but in Sutton today there was a Grey Wagtail too! Quite out of place and away from any water.
Another great day at the park.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

20th February 2008

Another trip to Nonsuch today, starting at 12:25pm and ending at 3:17pm.
Other local news today, were two Blackcaps (male and female) at Belmont Heights just before I departed for Nonsuch and a very tame, wet Pied Wagtail was there for a while too. PEREGRINE FALCON at withheld local site click HERE for photo.
At Beddington there were 8 Black-headed Gulls on the short-grass field in front of the Cheam car park with a Common Gull. There were large numbers of Great Tits calling around the site, as well as a few Blue Tits and about 40 Ring-necked Parakeets were flying around. Carrion Crows were numerous and there were roughly 200 Woodpigeons seen. 5 Dunnocks were present, 4 of which were at the aviary stealing from the chicken feed. 6 Robins were present, most singing. At least 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers were present with 1 drumming. Large numbers of Greenfinches and Chaffinches were present around the site with one male Greenfinch performing a regular song-flight. Some small finches which may have been Siskins were feeding in the Alders at Cheam Park briefly, but views were very poor (silhouettes, very high up) and they may have been the Goldfinches which were seen around the area earlier. There were fairly large numbers of Blackbirds, Magpies were numerous and 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull with 3 Common Gulls and about 100 Black-headed Gulls were present at Cheam Park. 4 Wrens were present as were several Long-tailed Tits. 8 Stock Doves were seen, a tame female Kestrel was giving excellent views on the main grassland area and a Jay was seen in the gardens, there were 2 Coal Tits there too. 1 Mistle Thrush drank from the dyke, a Grey Heron was seen in flight around the ponds and further on, at the west side there were loads of Redwings. An interesting sighting was 4 Mallards circling around the ponds. There were a couple of Jackdaws present and a Nuthatch was heard. All the while there were lots of overhead Herring Gulls.

I think that just about covered it, 29 species today, nearing the record for Nonsuch in a day.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Nonsuch 18th February 2008

A standard day at Nonsuch, from 3pm to 5:20pm. I went round to the 1st no dogs area first. There was nothing of note there though Great Tits were singing all around me, they are very noticable at this time of year. There were Long-tailed and Blue Tits in the hedgerows too. In the woods a Mistle Thrush was singing in the canopy. There were about 50 Black-headed Gulls at Cheam Park with one bird which had pale primaries, leading me to think that it was a Mediterranean, though the bill and a single dark primary led away from this. There were about 100 Ring-necked Parakeets today with roughly 250 Woodpigeons. There was nothing of interest in the gardens other than a Great-spotted Woodpecker and there was a Mistle Thrush drinking at the Dyke. A Grey Heron was present at the ponds and 7 Fieldfares were hanging around (with a Great-spotted Woodpecker next to 6 of them). 2 Song Thrushes were singing today. A Green Woodpecker flew over the car park at 5:20pm. 26 species were seen in total.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

20th January 2008

Hello again everybody.
I went out to Nonsuch from around 11:00am to 14:00pm today in the hope of better views of Fieldfare and to try and actually see Nuthatch and Goldcrest.
The first 10 birds of the trip were as follows:
Ring-necked Parakeet
Carrion Crow
Blue Tit
Wren (Heard singing)
Long-tailed Tit
Mistle Thrush

The Kestrel was seen mobbing a Carrion Crow high over the woods and there were two Mistle Thrushes around with a Jackdaw flying around nearby. I heard the Nuthatch's strange call again and managed to locate it in a flock of Tits (including a Goldcrest) and watched it climbing up and down the trunk of an old tree. There was a Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming and it flew into view later on.
Robins were seen in large numbers today with birds singing all around the park and the total number of Black-headed Gulls in the settled flocks on site consisted of at least 400 birds all together as well as a busy over-head passage.
In the very productive plantation next to the wood-chip dump in Cheam park behind the woods there were no Siskins (although there may have been some in the flock of Goldfinches I saw with the naked eye) or anything else of note. A quick look at some of the regular Cheam Park Gull flock revealed nothing else than about 100 Black-headed Gulls. There was a good over-head passage of Herring Gulls too, mainly consisting of 1st winters with a couple of adults occasionally. There were about 30 Starlings around Cheam park too and at least four Blackbirds.

In case you do not know, Cheam Park is a large open area, one side (divided by a fence running through the middle and a building) is short-grass football fields which gets large Gull flocks in the winter (Herring, Black-headed, Common and Lesser Black-backed) and the other side has more trees and garden flowers and the more open bits of it get small, sparse flocks of Gulls (no more than 50 Gulls at one time). It is really Nonsuch Park, just separated by the woods. The plantation next to the wood-chip dump is good for Finches and other passerines and just behind the woods, facing the dump is a small wild area with overgrown bushes and grass which is good for Warblers in summer.

We went back through the woods, passing the aviary and went round the gardens, seeing Goldcrest, Ring-necked Parakeets and Jackdaws.

We then went to the cafe and had a snack for a while before heading down to the 2nd no dogs area where we got great views of three Fieldfares. We went round by the ponds and heard a Grey Heron, I was surprised to see 3 Siskins land in a bush right next to me. We went through the scrubby area on the far left which I am trying to get more familiar with, because it is an excellent part of the park and I am looking forward to the spring and summer when there will be warblers like Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat and maybe even Garden Warbler or Lesser Whitethroat! I have only really discovered this area in the last couple of months and found it is the prime area for Redwing and Fieldfare (today and yesterday I saw about 30 Redwing and A few weeks ago I saw about 15 Fieldfare here). A Green Woodpecker with something on its leg flew past me.

We went back to the car after another productive, but less hectic day at the park with a list for the trip of 29 birds.

Aftter about an hour or two I left with dad to see the Bramblings at Canon Farm, apparently a Sparrowhawk had set them all up about 20 minutes before we arrived and the birds had dispersed. Although several silhouetted Chaffinches/Brambling flew over, it was impossible to tell from the dark shapes against the cloudy sky. I may see if dad can take me after school on Tuesday.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

19th January 2008

Happy new year everybody! New year means new year lists! My overall 2008 total is a pretty dismal 75 now, lets think of it as 3/4 of the way to 100...
But this year, I am starting a new list. Now, as I am getting to be a more and more keen patch birder I have decided to start a 2008 Nonsuch Park list... it would be easy to keep track of even if I didn't do it as I went along (I am anyway) because I can always access all my 08 Nonsuch Park records from Birdtrack and wouldn't have to go fishing for records from elsewhere like a British year list.
I made my first visit to Nonsuch of the year today, and it was a great start to the patch-birding year with a total of 30 species seen/heard in 3 hours and 50 minutes (so, obviously my 08 Nonsuch list is 30). It is hard to get much above 30 unless you bird for 4+ hours on a typical day.
I managed to get a few species that I needed for my overall 08 list today too, and I saw my first Nonsuch Siskins!
We left the car at 1:00 pm and the first species were Ring-necked Parakeet, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, an over-head Chaffinch and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Interesting note:
I find Nonsuch a great place to practice common bird songs and calls, it is where I have learnt most of them and now I detect an awful lot of my birds through sounds only. A whole 13.3 % of my list today where heard only and exactly 50% were detected by sound before I saw them, if I saw them at all and 36.6% of all birds seen today where first noticed by song/call!

There was a large number of Black-headed and Herring Gulls over heard today, the Herrings were mainly 1st winters. No Lesser Black-backed Gulls where seen today.

Tits included Blue, Great, Long Tailed and a heard-only Coal. Long-tailed Tits where around the park in force today and Great Tits making unfamiliar calls created many unnecessary stops.

Stock Doves where mainly only heard but one was seen in flight and one was seen perched in the gardens.

Just behind the woods, at the small mixed plantation near the wood-chip dump in Cheam Park there was a flock of about 20 Goldfinches, I met a keen female Nonsuch birder in mid-December and she told me about Siskins she had seen, so I thought it was worth checking if there were any in the Goldfinch flock, and sure enough there were some! At first I only noticed one, a male then a pair, male and female and then 6! It was the first time I had ever seen them here, and a bird I don't see very often (Embarrassingly I didn't see any at all last year!).

It just goes to show that you should check ALL flocks and ALL birds that are not 100% usual at first glance because you WILL be rewarded with good birds... it works and that's how many good birds are found, and many good birds are found by keen patch birders.

Back to that nice woman- she said she had been birding at Nonsuch since the 80s and had seen 81 species at Nonsuch since then (I've seen 51 since 2004) and compiles an official report for the council to help in management for wildlife at the park... I was both pleased and a bit disappointed that my 'report' is now pretty worthless... but still a good visitors account of birding at the park.
Anyway... she said she found a Dartford Warbler at Warren Farm a few years ago and Stonechat winter there. She said Skylark are found there too and Tawny Owls can reliably be seen at this part of the park too! Warren Farm is not as bad as I thought it was- though when I checked most of the scrub there today there were no decent birds...
She also said that the Little Owl which I thought was a one off is a resident in the gardens and there is another near the mansion house too. According to her, there was a Woodcock a few years ago (shifting the possible I saw here briefly flying right past me a few years ago further towards the front of my mind). And perhaps most surprising is a pair of Teal winter on the ponds!!! I looked there today briefly but had completely forgotten about them so didn't put enough effort in and didn't see them.

Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks and only one Wren (usually alarm calling all over) where other passerines seen. And a female Kestrel flew around the gardens.

I went over to the far left side (mentioned in my booklet as a good but under watched area) at half three (intending to be back at the car by four but ended up back at five for reasons explained further on). The dyke was very high today and I had to cross a tiny bridge before getting to the good scrubby area where there was a Great Tit making a strange call (not being familiar with Marsh Tit calls I got a bit excited) and I spent ten minutes locating the source and confirming the ID as only a Great Tit. There was a Song Thrush singing as I struggled through the thick mud in my school shoes and a Fieldfare (one of the day's targets) flew into a high tree, giving just good enough views to confirm the ID. Five minutes later I was suddenly alerted to the loud, high calls of Redwings right above me, about 10 went over (Another target), when I thought that was it and carried on 10 I heard it again and about 15 flew over! I then continued only to hear them again and see about 10 more in bushes right next to me- great views too. By now it was getting dark and the Crows where at their pre-roost assemblies. I saw Ring-necked Parakeets on the ground for the first time, about ten were drinking from the huge puddles at the 3rd no-dogs area near the Ewell and and running along side the long, narrow concrete track through the grassland towards the mansion house. I went into the no dogs area and over to the gate leading to the path- great... it was really deep around there and water was filling into my shoes a couple of metres away from it. I went back to the dyke and found a shallow, narrow part and jumped over- I now had this huge thorny bush to deal with- I took a whole ten minutes getting out of this particularly large bush with huge, thick twigs with nasty thorns digging into my coat as it wrapped right around my back! Eventually I got throught and was on my way home. Now it was ten minutes from full darkness and loads of Crows were on the ground together before they go to the trees away from foxes to roost.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

3 new acceptances

The following species have been accepted and he updated list of Birds recorded at Nonsuch Park will be published on
Fieldfare: 2 records
10/11/07 1 adult. Second no dogs area observed by Phil Wallice
24/11/07 at least one adult. Second no dogs area observed by David Campbell and Phil Wallice. approx 12:15pm
Rook: 1 record
24/11/07 1 heard. Back of woods, near Cheam Park, observed by David Campbell and Phil Wallice. approx 14:10pm
Common Gull: 1 record
24/11/07 1 adult winter on field at Cheam Park with c300 Black-headed Gulls and c20 Herring Gulls observed by David Campbell and Phil Wallice. approx 14:15 pm

Saturday, 24 November 2007

What a day 24/11/07!!!


Today was an absolutely fantastic day! Nonsuch school had something going on so the car park was jam packed however my nan managed to drop me off and I went round with Phil all the time. I wasn't expecting much but it seemed we chose the perfect route. I am going to make a record of it on my PC now so I don't forget it. We got 6 species which are considered rare for Nonsuch, including 2 firsts and a second.

After eventually finding a place to park, I met up with Phil and we started off, we checked the never disappointing 1st no dogs area. But this time it did disappoint, no Green Woodpeckers today and certainly no sign of any Lesser spotted Woodpeckers, not that we expected that. We carried on, to be honest, at this point we didn't think we were going to see much anyway, with all these people and cars in the car park. As we were scanning, two Mistle Thrushes flew over head.

The day's list started off with the usual Carrion Crows and Magpies with several over head Gulls, mainly Black-headed. Ring-necked Parakeets were not as obvious as usual, but we could still hear some in the background. We heard two Jackdaws amongst them. Jackdaws nest in the big old tree in the gardens with 4-6 pairs breeding in the summer. Not much really considering the high population that nests in the chimneys of old houses in Cheam.

As we went round the corner to enter the gardens we heard a high pitched weak 'see see seee' which we immediately recognised as a Goldcrest, the confiers they were in were huge and there were quite a few of them so locating any bird would be hard enough let alone such a quiet, weak, high pitched call. I suppose that is the purpose of it; to make them hard to locate.

I heard the louder and more powerful note of a Dunnock. And soon afterwards we heard the 'check... ... ... ... ...check... ... ... ... check' contact call of the Great-spotted Woodpecker. This was good, we were up to ten species in the first ten minutes, if that. Which is pretty productive for Nonsuch.

In the gardens 3 Jays showed well at close quarters, which I got some photos of (see above). There was an obliging Blackbird.

We moved on to the grassland area where there was a surprise Pied Wagtail, juvenile and the second official Nonsuch record. There were Long-tailed Tits, about 15 of them with a couple of Great and Blue Tits.

At the second no dogs area there was a Feildfare, presumably the same that Phil saw a couple of weeks earlier on. This confirmed the record and it is definitely on the official Nonsuch list now. There were a couple of Lesser Black-backs and a few Herring Gulls on the second no dogs area too.

We moved on to the ponds and there was nothing but a couple of Grey Herons flying around. We moved up to the scrubby areas up along there. This produced some Gold and Green finches and there were also some Stock Doves. We went back to the first park of the park and went behind the woods to Cheam park, here there were a few hundred Black-headed Gulls and a few Herring Gulls, there was also a Common Gull, probably a second winter, this was a first for Nonsuch! We then heard the unmistakable deeper crowing of a Rook, another a first for Nonsuch, though we did not manage to see it there was no doubt to its ID and it is now to be added to the official Nonsuch list.
We then returned to the car and went home very pleased.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Potential new first for Nonsuch

Phil Wallice seems to be on a role with finding firsts for Nonsuch, I joint found the Hobby with him, he found the Wheatear and now he saw a single Fieldfare feeding with Mistle Thrushes yesterday!
I am going to contact him for further details on the bird.

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris. Potential first for Nonsuch Park, single adult seen on the 10th November 2007 by Phil Wallice.
Status Pending admittance to Nonsuch list

Nonsuch Park in Bird Atlas 2007-11 Survey

I have been allocated a 2x2km square patch of ground for the BTO Bird Atlas 2007-11. My patch covers a part of Cheam and Ewell village and the majority of Nonsuch Park. I did my early winter visit today. I chose to do it for two hours. I broke my record of 25 species in one visit for Nonsuch and managed to get 26, but only just. Otherwise, I saw far less Jays (only 1) lots of Goldcrests, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, a female Kestrel and many of the other usual birds. I am going to submit the record to the BTO soon.

The Bird Atlas 2007-11 is a very important survey, please consider helping the BTO visit for details.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Saturday 6th October 2007

Female Green Woodpecker
I met up with my friend Phil again, but we were unable to go early in the morning so we had to put up with the many people and dogs there. There was still no sign of the Hobby and it has probably moved on.
There were, as usual, plenty corvids including 9 Magpies, 17 Carrion Crows and 4 Jays (sightings going down again).
The gardens produced 2 singing Robins, a Chaffinch (heard), 3 Goldfinch, a female Blackbird; at least one Goldcrest was feeding in the conifers and a Nuthatch (heard).
There was a female Kestrel in the grassland area which I photographed but was abit too quick with my movements and accidentally scared it off, I was used to being able to stride right up to them, but they must be getting used to the threat of humans now.
We got excellent views of a female Green Woodpecker (Pictured), it was the closest I have ever managed to get to one and one of the first times I had used real fieldcraft to get close to the bird, it gave great results too. It was a good day at Nonsuch, not a terrible variety but very enjoyable.

3 New Additions to Nonsuch List- see

Monday, 1 October 2007

Finally no sign of the Hobby...

On Saturday (29th September 2007) I went back down to Nonsuch because I was dying for a bit of birding. The weather was not great, so I didn't expect the Hobby anyway, they don't hunt in these conditions because there are no aerial insects for it to feed on.
It was an enjoyable day anyway, I thought there was a good chance of green Woodpecker because of the conditions and we ended up seeing a juvenile and a female on the first no dogs area. Ring-necked Parakeets were less active today though very noisy. I noted 3 pairs of Blackbirds which is more than usual. Near the first no dogs area there was a flock of tits passing through, I only really got a view of a Great Tit though there were Blue Tits there too. Several Robins were active too with a total of four seen. Great-spotted Woodpecker was seen in flight and heard making its contact call. 24 Starlings flew over, which is average for Nonsuch. As with the last few weeks Jays were particularly active collecting nuts. 24 Black-headed Gulls were present in Cheam Park with a brief 'from behind' glimpse of a probable Common Gull.
We headed down to the 'Kestrel Area' which is a large patch of rough grassland. and despite not being able to get close to them as before, we saw a record breaking 4 birds there in flight, calling. I heard a Nuthatch in the gardens and 2 Herring Gulls flew over. Other than this there was nothing else of note, still a very interesting and enjoyable day.
Oh yes... the Hobby wasn't there. Either it had moved on or wasn't active due to the weather.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Sunday 23rd September 2007

I went to the park once again on Sunday morning. With Phil too. It was great. I mainly went to see if the Northern Wheatear (rare here) was still there.

There were the usual corvids there as we arrived, as usual more carrion crows than magpies. As with most of the other visits, one of the first sounds you hear is the squawking of the Ring-necked Parakeets. There are so many here now I am going to re-consider my population estimate. A Great-spotted Woodpecker flew over.

As I walked through the gardens to meet Phil at the 'Kestrel Area' that we now call it. I saw two female (one was probably a juvenile) Kestrels circling above me calling. As with the last few weeks, Jays flew around in large numbers.

I saw Phil and went over to him. He said the Wheatear wasn't there, typical. Its not that I have to 'twitch' a Wheatear its just that he had good views of it and it is the first ever record for Nonsuch Park. The first bird that is new to the park that I didn't find for myself!

We soon moved into the gardens, hoping to see Goldcrests again. Goldcrest are Britain's smallest bird, joint with the Firecrest. Measuring in at just 10cm long if you stretch them out as far as they go! After alot of careful listening I picked two up, that meant I had the job of trying to describe the exact twig that they were on which is not a pleasant task and very frustrating!

We exited the gardens, heard a Wren singing and surprise surprise, we heard the Hobby again! Phil said he heard it the day before, he had mistaken Ring-necked Parakeet calls for the Hobby before so I wasn't too sure, but after hearing this I believed him. Then, sure enough we briefly saw the streamlined, giant Swift shape of the Hobby fly past. No photos though. Then we saw a Kestrel fly past too. Phil heard a Coal Tit and located it. Other birds around this point were Jackdaws and a Green Woodpecker heard.

We had a cup of tea and Phil and I went off into the woods. Many non-birders may naturally think this is the place to go to see birds but it is in fact very hard work, especially in summer when the leaves are covering the trees. At the back of the woods I saw a single Goldfinch and 2 adult winter Black-headed Gulls flew past. Now we saw two juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls fly over, this, surprisingly, is the first ever record for Nonsuch! Soon afterwards I spotted a 3rd year on the field and 2 2nd year Herring Gulls.

Then, as we came through to the other side of the woods again we spotted the juvenile Hobby hawking insects over a field! It was by far the best views I have ever had of a Hobby in flight. We watched it as it did about 5 circuits of the field, swooping up and down, as it grabbed aerial insects in mid air. Whilst watching the Hobby, we were treated to a very breif, but fantastic sighting of a Weasel, I didn't manage a photo becuase it was in the shade whilst my camera was set for the sunny sky, and even if it was, it was too quick!

The juvenile Hobby has been present at Nonsuch for two weeks now. It has been one of the rarest birds ever found at Nonsuch but unbeatable as the most enjoyable bird.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Sunday 16th September 2007

I went with my friend Phil down to Nonsuch in search of the Kestrels and once again we didn't see one!There were plenty Jays, a few Stock Doves and Green Woodpeckers as well as some over head Gulls. We saw 20 species all together. Other good birds were Goldcrest, Chiffchaff (heard) and a Nuthatch also heard.But guess what we saw!The Hobby! We started walking down the field when we heard a long, sad sounding 'kaaa kaaaa kaaaa kaaaa'. Then we saw a streamlined falcon fly straight over our heads, fantastic. This was at around 8:50am. We saw it again with a Sparrowhawk at around 10:20am.Unfortunately, we didn't get any photos of anything really, apart from a crow.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Some info about Nonsuch

Now, I think it would be useful for you to know some things about the place you are reading about. It is not the best rarity hotspot in the world, but it can turn up some very rare birds for South-West London, particularly Cheam, Epsom, Banstead, Sutton; that sort of area. This is because it is one of the only large, natural sites in the area with a good variety of habitats and birds passing through see it and stop there. So far, three rare South West London birds have turned up here (Beddington Sewage Farm does get more rare birds but remember this is a park). These 3 species are Little Owl (10/10/04), Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (3/2/07) and of course the Juvenile Hobby (9/9/07). The last two are particularly rare for this area.
The park consists of various habitats, these include tall Grassland, Deciduous Woodland, Confiferous Woodland, Mixed Woodland, Ponds and gardens as well as short grass fields.
Part of the long-term aim of this website is to riase awareness of Nonsuch amongst birders, then, maybe it will become more appreciated for its wildlife and well lets just say it may help combat the erm, little plans that the council have in store for this place.

Now the Nonsuch list sonsits of 44 species, nothing great but remember, it is only me who birdwatches there and I'm not very good at it so it is probably way below what birds actually use the site.

Some of the start commoner birds include Great-spotted and Green Woodpecker, Ring-necked Parakeets, Sparrowhawks which breed (?), Kestrels which breed on site or nearby (?) plenty songbirds, occasional Grey Heron. And much more. Other wildlife includes foxes, a variety of insects including many butterflies and occasional dragonflies, including four-spotted chaser (which is the only dragonfly I know).
See the 'Birds of Nonsuch Page' (found in the links section) for full details on the status of the birds of the park.

Kestrels 15th and 16th aug 07

Before my holiday to Wales, which I will tell you about on soon, I headed down to Nonsuch to see the Kestrels, here are the results:

Hobby 9/9/07

Yesterday morning as a birding friend an I walked through the park, a sighting which would forever influence Nonsuch park's birding, no it wasn't a first for Britain, or any kind of nation rarity, but it certainly was a local rarity and a very influential local sighting.

A juvenile Hobby, showed itself for a whole 40 minutes, high in a conifer tree allowing me and Phil to get shots of it. It was a migrant, stopping off at Nonsuch, on its way to Africa, after being born somewhere else the UK earlier this year. It was such a stroke of luck that the day I brought my friend along we were treated to seeing this beautiful migrant Falcon:

Welcome to Nonsuch Park Birder

Hello and welcome to my new blog, I have decided to dedicate it to my birdwatching at my local patch, Nonsuch Park. On this site, as it develops you can read about my latest findings at Nonsuch, see my latest photos and find out more about this little known site.