Stokes Field[edit | edit source]
Stokes Field is a small local nature reserve in Long Ditton (TQ 167 659) consisting of oak woodland and grassland habitats as well as two small ponds. The whole area, including a separate field, is surrounded by houses to the north and west, Surbiton Hockey Club to the east and the A309 Kingston Bypass to the south.
You will find the ‘normal’ species of birds for the area and from time to time something a little more interesting. Regular breeders include all the common Tits, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Woodcock has been flushed from dense vegetation around the small pond in hard winters, and Bullfinches often call from the hawthorn scrub below the hill. The hill itself has the potential to be a decent spot for migration watching, and improved coverage in recent springs has produced both Redstart and Tree Pipit around the rose fields at the top of the hill, as well as Red Kites and regular sightings of Buzzard drifting over the A309. Previous records of interest have included Ring Ouzel, Spotted Flycatcher and seldom reports of Barn Owls in the winter.
The site is also rich with other wildlife. Butterflies include those typical of grassland/wasteland sites - healthy colonies of both Essex Skipper and Small Skipper in the overgrown rose fields, and sightings of Brown Argus from time to time in late summer. The wet meadows are notable in early spring for a considerable population of the nationally-scarce moth, Mompha jurassicella, and is one of the only known breeding sites for the species in Surrey. Other scarce moths recorded there include the likes of Commophila aeneana, Caloptilia leucapennella, Small Yellow Underwing, Burnet Companion, Six-spot Burnet and Cinnabar, while Roesel's Bush Cricket can be seen in the overgrown rose fields without much difficulty.
Bill Dykes (possibly the only birder who goes there!)