Summary of sightings at Holmethorpe Sand Pits, Surrey ... 18th August to 3rd September 2010

The 18th August saw 2 Common Sandpipers and a Hobby at Holmethorpe Sand Pits, along with a Reed Warbler and the following day produced a Green Sandpiper, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Common Gull.
There were 3 Gadwall, a Common Sandpiper, a Common Buzzard and a Little Owl on the 20th August and also a raptor heading north that may well have been a Marsh Harrier but, despite being digiscoped, it didn’t give up its true identity.
The 22nd August saw local birder Gordon adding OYSTERCATCHER to the Holmethorpe year list and he also noted a juvenile Shelduck and 3 Grey Wagtails at the pits.
On the 23rd August, Paul found a RINGED PLOVER at the pits, but it didn’t hang around for long, and I found a WHINCHAT, an addition the local patch year list. Four Gadwall and 3 Common Sandpipers were also present as were a Coal Tit and a Treecreeper sharing the same tree, neither species particularly common at the pits. The following day, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Goldcrests and a Nuthatch were noted.


The 25th August produced a Reed Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Nuthatches, a Common Tern and 7 Common Buzzards, 2 Common Sandpipers and Paul noted a Kingfisher, a regular species at the pits until the freeze-up of last winter.
Paul saw a juvenile Common Tern on 26th August, when there was a new site record count of 41 Egyptian Geese. Other birds present on that date included a Garden Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Kingfisher, 4 Shovelers, a male Pochard, 3 Teal and 6 Gadwall.
The 27th saw 2 Common Terns, an adult and a juvenile, at the pits, also 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers, 4 Shovelers and a Lesser Whitethroat.
Gordon found a male COMMON REDSTART and 2 WHINCHATS, a Willow Warbler (scarce locally for the past few years) and a Common Buzzard on the 29th August and the roosting Lapwing flock had increased to 156 birds. The following day produced a Reed Warbler, a Common Sandpiper, a Common Buzzard and 167 Canada Geese.
On the 2nd September, Gordon found a juvenile male RUFF in the afternoon, only the 6th record for the pits and 3 Common Sandpipers were also present. There was also a report of a BARN OWL hunting over the farm at dusk.

RUFF (Graham)


A male Wigeon arrived on the 3rd September, with other birds noted including a female Pochard, 6 Teal, 10 Gadwall, 3 Common Sandpipers, 6 Common Buzzards, a Coal Tit, 3 Nuthatches and 2 Goldcrests.
In the evening, Gordon and I decided to stake out the farm to see if the Barn Owl would put in an appearance again (which it didn’t) but 2 Little Owls were on display. As I was watching the farm, Gordon had decided to scan the sand-spit at Spynes Mere before joining me. A call on my mobile from Gordon had me quickly heading to join him as he had noticed a couple of interesting-looking waders. Before I reached him, another call on my mobile to tell me that the birds were in flight and that they were SPOTTED REDSHANKS. I scanned the sky but failed to see them. As it was 27 years ago that the last Spotted Redshank was noted at Holmethorpe, I was slightly gutted but that’s birding for you.
It has been an exceptional year for waders at Holmethorpe with 17 species so far:
Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Woodcock and now Spotted Redshank on the year list for the site.
Amazingly, we still haven’t seen Redshank or Curlew but they could turn up at any time.



  1. Thanks for the round up Graham, great stuff, Buff-breasted next?!