Trip reports

Full day walk around Thursley Common

Full day walk around Thursley Common
RSPB images - Dartford Warbler

Saturday, 22 June 2019

8 members either met at Chichester to car share or met at the Thursley Common car park. The weather for the whole day looked like wall to wall sunshine so only light clothing was needed.

From the car park we saw Coal Tits in the confer tree canopy and heard a Wren singing nearby. The initial walk took us via the board walk over the boggy ground where immediately the first of several Lizards was seen sunning itself on the boards. A small group of Swallows were perched on some overhead power lines in between hawking over the tree tops for insects.

Progressing along the boards we studied the plant life and identified Southern Marsh Orchids, a possible pure white Early Marsh Orchid and dozens of small clumps of tiny Sun Dew carnivorous plants and many more that were not always easy to put an ID to. After walking a short distance along the boards we spotted one of our target birds of the day....a Hobby was flying high overhead searching for any insects that might be flying high on the thermals. Great views were had for several minutes. Dragonflies seemed to be everywhere with the main culprits being Four Spotted Chasers. There were a small number of Emperor Dragonflies noted which were mostly female. These were watched ovi-depositing at a number of sites. Damsel flies included Common Blue, Large Red and a Beautiful Demoiselle was spotted.

Other birds seen from the boardwalk were Stonechats (these would later be seen all around the common), Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Buzzard, Kestrel and Carrion Crow. Walking away from the boarded boggy area into the sandy common itself more Stonechats abounded and then the second of our target birds was initially heard and then briefly seen....a Dartford Warbler. We would later on the walk get much better views of several Dartford Warblers singing away and often in pairs. The third target bird again was only briefly seen a number of times, although some of the group had better views than others. This was a Common Redstart...both male and females were spotted. We finally reached our luncheon spot and finding a welcome log or two spent 30 odd minutes resting, having lunch and watching dragonflies nipping around us.

Following lunch we began the second half of our round trip....the temps had risen and it was with leaden steps that we walked upwards over the crest of the common. It was at this point that we stumbled upon some Silver Studded Blue butterflies. Other species noted were Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Speckled Wood and Meadow Brown. Pressing onward after several attempts of photographing the Blue butterflies and with temps seemingly rising where we were sheltered from any breeze the going got tough for a few of us oldies.

We came across the first of two Tree Pipit sightings where they were perched high in a tree heartily singing in the sun. As we approached a wooded path where we had some small respite from the sun both Nuthatch and Tree Creepers were spotted. It was close to this point that we were Hoping to see the resident Cuckoo, who we believed to be called Colin, in the "Parish Field". This Cuckoo has apparently been summering here for the last 6 years and is so tame because it is regularly fed with meal worms. Alas Colin never made an appearance even though he had been present the day before. There would obviously be a time when he would depart for winter quarters and maybe that had been the day.

All in all it was a hot but extremely pleasant day in, as always, great company. The day's total for bird species was 34/35.

Special thanks to Chris Vine our leader that day....nicely led as always.

Graham Whitehead