Marvellous Mitcham Common


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Marvellous Mitcham Common

  • When I take a walk through Mitcham Common, I always go from South to North. I usually buy my mealies at Croydon Reptiles and then walk across the Common towards home. For some reason I chose to get off the bus on the way to Croydon Reptiles at the Ravensbury Arms. It was an excellent decision as it turned out. I saw the two species that I was hoping to spot (Kestrel and Stonechat), but there were two surprises also. Lots of photos here I'm afraid, but I'm still getting used to the 600mm lens, so that's one excuse...

    The stop where I alighted from the bus was near Seven Island Pond. The first bird I saw was this Heron, who is clearly expecting a lot of rainfall

    While I was photographing the Heron, I heard the distinctive call of a Male Pheasant. A Male Pheasant? On Mitcham Common? Yep. There he was, calling loudly. Unfortunately he scooted off into the undergrowth and this was the best pic I was able to get.

    Back to the pond and a Cormorant circled overhead. A good opportunity to try some 'In Flight' shots.

    A bit further South and I saw this Dunnock that refused to turn to face the camera.

    Can anyone ID this small flock of birds?

    There are always Kestrels on Mitcham Common. The major problem is that they invariably have Crows flushing them out from the trees and pursuing them. I managed a few distant photos of this one before it too was chased off.

    The above photos were heavily cropped. This is how they looked on full zoom with the 600 before cropping

    Just beyond Watneys Road is always Kestrel territory and today it did not disappoint. I took this as a record shot before seeking a better angle with the sun behind me. As soon as I was in that location a Crow arrived and chased away the Kestrel. I watched the flight and headed across to see if I could get a decent pic, especially as the sun was now behind me

    This was one Kestrel that didn't mind being photographed.

    She looked at me and then continued to scour the area for a potential meal

    Isn't she beautiful?

    As I was taking these photos, I heard an odd call coming from the bushes below and to the right. I was not prepared for what I found there.

    Just hope that isn't an injury I can see near the base of the tail

    By the time I had moved, the Rail had climbed into a nearby bush. It's right in the middle of the picture.

    I hoped I might see a Stonechat and this Male was very obliging when it came to staying still out in the open

    So glad I chose to get off the bus at the 'wrong' stop. I might well have missed all of these, especially the Rail.

  • Cracking set of shots, MC. The perched Kestrel shots are fantastic. I suspect your flock of birds are Starlings.

  • I forgot to add this Red Admiral that was on the opposite side of the road from the Water Rail

  • looks like you had a good day with the new set up Paul,  love the young Kestrel especially and nice find with the Rail.

  • Some good sightings there Paul,and great results from the new lens-especially like the Kestrel and Water Rail in the bushes! I'm lucky to see lots of Stonechats down here,delightful little birds -I never tire of seeing them. Prepare for achy shoulders/back with your 600mm !!


  • Nice setMC, the lens is working well. I agree that your flock looked most like Starlings.

  • Great shots MC, especially the Kestrel and the Water Rail, you are doing well with the 600 lens, good flight shots too.   I do like the ever hopeful Heron:-)

  • Nice photos from your day out Paul, lovely Kesterel.

  • Oooooh! Lucky me, indeed a beautiful female ... send her here for Mr K who visited me yesterday!

  • I thought you would like her. She must be used to dog walkers, as she was not disturbed by my presence.

  • Stunning shots Paul, the Kestrel, Stonechat and Rail photos are beautiful

  • monkeycheese

    I thought you would like her. She must be used to dog walkers, as she was not disturbed by my presence.

    great bonus when they get used to disturbance ... Kestrels nested here for years & fledged three or four young each time to the background of Manston Airport in full flow but not so since it shut down!

    Forgot to say earlier that all your other pics were very enjoyable too!