November was a stormy month with high rainfall but with few bird sightings of note. A Green Sandpiper was seen in flight on the 3rd. This wader is just about seen annually. There were two reports of over-flying Peregrines on the 9th and 18th. Interestingly both birds were flying towards Ham. As their name suggests these birds can wander far so there is no telling where they came from, although it would seem the Park holds enough potential prey for Peregrines to be seen on a more regular basis. A large flock of Lesser Redpolls lingered in the wood south of Thatched House Lodge, feeding in birches.
December also saw some extreme weather with a prolonged cold spell, with some snow, starting before Christmas. This prompted some movements of birds escaping the snow cover and chill. Three flocks of 33 Lapwings flew over on the 18th. Another flock of six were seen on the 30th. Small groups of Fieldfares flew over on the 22nd and 25th. In the blizzard-like conditions of the afternoon of the 21st two Woodcock were seen, one almost flying into the observer, the other rather forlornly sitting in the snow on The Bog. Earlier in the month up to six had been seen one evening around the Park. On the morning of the 21st two Snipe were seen in flight and one was standing on the ice of the Upper Pen Pond on the 30th. There was no influx of wildfowl associated with freezing conditions, with only eleven Shovelers on the 25th being noteworthy. Five each of Gadwall and Wigeon made brief appearances before the cold snap. Sadly the last juvenile Mute Swan on the Lower Pen Pond had disappeared, perhaps a victim of the cold weather, and worryingly the female of the Upper Pond pair went missing.
Of the regular wintering birds five Skylarks and up to 27 Meadow Pipits lingered on The Bog, a 100 Redwing were in the Park's woodlands, perhaps as many as five pairs of Stonechats were around the Park and a flock of ten Siskin were seen in alders by the Upper Pen Pond. Three Grey Wagtails and at least one Kingfisher were on Beverley Brook.
These are the last of my Bird Notes for a while. I would like to thank the Friends of Richmond Park and the Park's managers for publishing them, Barbara Cotton for her patience and the Park's birdwatchers for their contributions. Special thanks go to Tim Howard, the Park's Recorder of Birds, for his help and many of the bird sightings. I hope these notes have been of interest and have given a useful insight into the Park's birdlife.
Jan Wilczur, December 2009