Rough-legged Buzzard
22nd March, 2012. Gordon Hay saw this bird fly low - at no more than 100ft height - over Mercer's West and Spynes Mere at 2.15pm. It immediately stood out with a pale head, large dark carpal patches, leggings and terminal tail band. As the bird moved SE the uppertail showed a neat white tail, tipped with a broad dark solid tail band, appearing darker on the upper surface than below. The upper wings showed quite extensive grey/brown panels that contrasted with the rest of the wing. Even at distance its flight action appeared more elasticated than a Common Buzzard. There had been up to six Common Buzzards on display during the afternoon. Although we occasionally get very pale Common Buzzards one has never been seen with such a neat tail band or the jizz of this bird.

Mediterranean Gull  
1st Jan 2012. Gordon Hay spotted this bird over The Moors NR mid-morning. Ian Kehl and Graham James were also present and were at the landfill site side of The Moors, along the cycle track. The bird did not appear to have come from the Water Colour lagoons but had flown in from the north with many other gulls. It circled over The Moors NR before heading off to the west towards Redhill. It was an adult and certainly not the bird seen towards the end of 2010 as this bird appeared larger and stockier. The bird looked much whiter than the digiscoped photo shows it to be.

2nd Jan 2012. First found by Gordon Hay on 7th Dec 2011 at Spynes Mere (it was also seen in that area intermittently from 12th to the 15th Dec 2011) the wintering first-winter bird was relocated on the 1st Jan 2012 by Tom Cahalane at the flooded area of The Moors near the railway line and Gordon Hay saw it at just before 08.00hrs on the 2nd Jan. Paul Kerry had photographed it on the 7th Dec 2011 and Graham James had digiscoped the bird on the 29th Dec 2011 and, from the latter images, the bird had appeared to have advanced in moult and was looking far more like a first-winter male but, it would seem, that may have been an effect of the lighting conditions as, on the 2nd Jan, it did not appear very much different in plumage from previous sightings but the general opinion is that this bird is a first-winter male. It was also seen on the 2nd Jan by Steve Gale, Ian Kehl Jerry Blumire, Thomas Blumire, Peter Brooker and Graham James.
Graham James and Steve Gale took more digiscoped photos and, although the bird was quite distant, some details were noted.  
The flanks were distinctly pale and the breast was quite strongly orangey-brown. The facial pattern looked good but no good views have been obtained of the speculum. When swimming, the bird seemed to have a more Garganey-like posture at times compared to previous sightings. It is broader and longer-bodied than Teal and the bill shape is typically Garganey.
different posture to Teal when swimming

facial pattern distinct
Iceland Gull
7th Jan 2012.
A scan of the gulls loafing on Mercers Lake from the western end by Gordon Hay mid-afternoon produced about 700 Herring and 45 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Whilst counting, he noticed a particularly white gull amongst them and, once the bird turned side-on, it became apparent that it was a second-winter Iceland Gull. (It appeared to be the same bird that had been at Beddington SF the previous day).

Gordon Hay rang me mid-afternoon to say he found an Iceland Gull on Mercers Lake. I arrived about 30 minutes later and viewed the gulls from the western end of the lake. I soon picked out the bird amongst the hundreds of gulls loafing in the middle of the lake. It appeared to be about the same size as the Herring Gulls present with a more rounded head than the Herring Gulls. The whole bird appeared very white but it was too distant for more detail to be noted so we headed along the north bank and got much closer views. The bill appeared to be dull yellowish with a black tip. The mantle was very pale, almost white, and there were indistinct pale brownish patches on the closed wings. Primaries and tail were white. The iris appeared to be pale. As the light faded, many of the gulls took flight so we headed back to the western end of the lake but could not relocate from there. Presumably the same bird was seen on the 8th Jan 2012, by Gordon Hay and Tom Cahalane, over The Moors NR and it was seen to land on the nearby landfill site. Graham James

This record is subject to acceptance by Surrey Bird Club Records Committee.

Snow Bunting
8th Jan 2012.
Seen by Gordon Hay and Tom Cahalane. The bird, a female, flew in with Fieldfares near the railway line tunnel at the back of Water Colours at about 11.30hrs and briefly perched on top of an ash tree before flying off over the railway line towards Holmethorpe Industrial Estate. It was not relocated and no photos were obtained.
This is only the 2nd record for Holmethorpe, the previous being a female or immature on 6th Jan 1963.

The bird flew directly overhead with a flock of c30 noisy Fieldfares from an easterly direction, even with the naked eye it had a very interesting jizz. The birds silhouette appeared slightly longer tailed and heavier bodied with a more buoyant flight than you would expect from the usual Reed Bunting flight. Amazingly, the mixed flock settled in an Ash and a Silver Birch tree along the railway line.

Through the scope with good light from behind.The bird had a yellow conical bill, orangey cheek patch, whitish underparts with diffuse orange brown on the flanks. From the side it had a noticeable amount of white in the wing but not a broad wing bar presumably a first-winter female, its back appeared brown, it had a notched tail. The bird only remained perched for less than a minute and flew low over the railway line. Despite much searching on suitable waste ground the bird could not be relocated. The bird was not heard to call. Gordon Hay
This record is subject to acceptance by Surrey Bird Club Records Committee.

Iceland Gull
21st Jan 2012. Gordon Hay found this bird briefly on Spynes Mere sand spit at around 12.45hrs. He thought it was most likely a first-winter bird. No photos were obtained.

The Iceland Gull certainly looked more brownish, larger and with a less distinctive dark tip to its bill than the bird we had two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I missed it flying off as, when I moved up to the gate, a couple of dog walkers flushed it off the spit. Apparently someone had it fly over with c20 Blackheaded Gulls two miles to the north at 13.00hrs.

This record is subject to submission to and acceptance by Surrey Bird Club Records Committee.

21st Jan 2012.
Gordon Hay found this bird, a first-winter male at Mercers West Pit in the early afernoon. It was also seen by David Campbell, Dennis Moore, Jerry Blumire and Thomas Blumire. No photos available so far.


It looked  to be a 1st-winter with some pale grey/brown feathering between the flanks and back also rather smudgy edge to the dark undertail coverts. Jerry Blumire

This record is subject to submission to and acceptance by Surrey Bird Club Records Committee.