Trip reports

Tices Meadow

Tices Meadow
Neil Bew

Sunday, 27 September 2015

A somewhat underwhelming one member joined me for a morning's gentle stroll around one of Surrey's premier birding sites (thank you Steve). We were also joined by two members of the U3A club and Richard Horton, who effectively led the walk.
Richard has been inextricably linked to the site since its potential as a wildlife site was realised more than a decade ago. Tices consists of open water, meadow, woodland, scrub and some smaller ponds; a brilliant mix of habitat in a small area.
We began at the western end of the site hoping for an elusive bullfinch which we didn't see. We did however catch up with a female blackcap and a showy female great spotted woodpecker. The open water area known as the 'Workings' is the main attraction in many ways and at this time of year, with the water levels low, has some islands and significant muddy margins. Today, this area was dominated by canada geese, maybe two hundred strong, with a nice mix of other wildfowl such as mallard, teal, gadwall, shoveler and wigeon. At least four little grebes occupied one corner, the same corner where up to three green sandpiper patrolled in fairly stately fashion, in contrast to its more manic, smaller cousin, the common sandpiper, one of which appeared towards the end of the morning. Raptors were initially in short supply but at least two kestrels put in an appearance, one directly overhead just to remind us how stunning these once common falcons really are. Our third red kite sighting of the morning not only gave us lovely views of this large, long winged and elegant raptor but since this one was flying low over the damp meadow, it kept flushing snipe, none of which we would otherwise have seen.
Tices is also good for insects and Richard found a wasp spider on the appropriately named Hortons Mound. This particular spider was closely guarding an egg sac.
Also seen from the mound were several stonechats some of which seemed to have eye stripes in a certain light and whilst I did my best to turn them into whinchats (we knew there was one around), stonechats they remained!
In all, a pleasantly sunny morning had produced around 45 different species on what, for Tices, counts as a quiet day.
A particular thank you to Richard for imparting his knowledge and enthusiasm throughout the morning.
Neil Bew