Birds on Reigate Priory Park Lake

One of our members contributes to the nationwide Wetlands Bird Survey (WeBS) by making monthly counts of the birds on and around the lake.

Smiley face Read Julia Monro's nature notes on Priory Park


This 70+ year old programme, organized by the British Trust for Ornithology, involves about 3000 volunteers monitoring a similar number of wetland sites.

For many years the lake's birds have been counted but recently the abundance and variety of species has markedly increased. Moorhen, coot, mallard, mute swan, Egyptian and Canada geese and little grebe are regular residents. Occasionally grey heron, kingfisher and grey wagtail have been seen. Varying with the seasons there can be over 200 black-headed gulls together with a few herring and common gulls. The most striking change has been in the winter visitors; which now include a few shovelers, a dozen or more tufted duck and up to 30 wigeon, characterized by their whistling calls. Wigeon breed in the far north but disperse widely in winter - the writer having seen them on the Nile.

Specimens of nearly all these species can be seen in the Club's museum. They were preserved long ago and a small team is hard at work cleaning and remounting the birds and refurbishing their glass display cases.

Visitors are welcome to explore the museum on Wednesday evening lecture dates, open days or by making arrangement with the curator and other committee members.

John Austin

To find out more about the Holmesdale Natural History Club and our collections, or if you are interested in joining, please email us at Holmesdale Natural History Club