Sunday 23 January 2005
River Ember & Esher Rugby Club, Surrey
Overnight sprinkling of snow, partly cloudy, clearing to blue sky, cold northerly
The reason for this trip was to experience
the famous Ring-necked (or Rose-ringed) Parakeet roost at Esher Rugby Club - one of
the most spectacular avian experiences in the British Isles.
Recent counts of winter roosts have revealled over 7000 birds!
Took a Woking train from Waterloo Station. Engineering works
meant a change at Surbiton for a replacement bus service to
Hersham. Alighted at Hersham (TQ 122654). Walked through the
golf course to the the River Ember (TQ 130657) and along the
bank towards Island Barn Reservoir, around Molesey Heath then
down Fieldcommon Lane and Molesey Road to Esher Rugby Club.
Golf Course (TQ 125650)
Egyptian Goose (4) and Canada Goose (12) grazing on a
fairway. Ring-necked Parakeets heard calling in the distance.
Long-tailed Tit, Redwing, Collared Dove, Great Tit, Blue Tit,
Magpie, Wood Pigeon, and Blackbird also noted.
Woodland, river and fields around (TQ 130660)
Tufted Duck (21), Little Grebe (2), Mallard (2), Coot (2), Moorhen (1), Kestrel,
Goldcrest, Green Woodpecker, Black-headed Gull, Robin, Blue
Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Redwing, Greenfinch, Carrion Crow,
Wood Pigeon and Feral Pigeon. Kingfisher observed
several times along the loop of the river running along the
back of the industrial estate at Lower Green (TQ 131658).
Footpath to West Molesey via
Molesey Heath (TQ 131674)
Stonechat in rough grassland by the river. Two Ring-necked
Parakeets overhead. Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming. Little
Grebe (9), Gadwall (3), Teal (2), Fieldfare (29), Stock Dove
(2), Green Woodpecker (2), Kestrel, Jackdaw, Collared Dove,
Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed
Gull, Mistle Thrush, Magpie, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Starling,
Goldfinch, Great Tit, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Wren, Carrion
Crow, Wood Pigeon, Mallard, Greenfinch, and Feral Pigeon.
House Sparrow (50+), Starling (30+), Long-tailed Tit (8), Grey Wagtail (o/h),
Dunnock, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.
Molesy Road & Esher Rugby Club grounds (TQ 122659)
1545h: Small groups of Ring-necked
Parakeets arriving from the north over Queen Elizabeth 2
1555h: c50 parakeets flying
around the north playing field, regularly landing on the pitch.
1615h: c200 present.
1624h: c300 present.
1630h: Within the next 30 minutes hundreds arrived with the pitch and surrounding
hedgerow full of calling birds.
1645h: A large Amazona-like parrot arrived with a dozen parakeets in
the poplar tree we were standing by. Probably a Mealy Parrot
but difficult to see plumage characteristics on the head. Red
shoulder patch and red patch visible on the closed primaries.
Its loud, deep call was distinctive at close range even among
the almost deafening rabble of parakeet squaks and shrieks.
1720: Before we departed after dark I estimated 5700 birds to be present in 38 of the 63
poplar trees in the rugby club grounds. The clear blue sky,
colourful sunset and full moon added to the already spectacular
visual and aural scene.