Trip reports

Farnham Heath RSPB, Surrey - 21 June 2017

Friday, 14 July 2017

Even before leaving the car park there had been a buzzard, nuthatch, chiffchaff, blackcap and swallow. Entering the reserve we heard the first of the day's willow warblers. Eventually we caught up with a pair of spotted flycatchers from here. They were no longer by the boardwalk (where they had been during a recce), but further across. It wasn't long before we added a great spotted woodpecker to the list and then the first of our tree pipits.

Approaching the main fenced enclosure someone spotted a bird on a fence; over the next few minutes we watched a pair of redstarts here, with another a little further round. As we passed through the enclosure towards the fire break we had already had whitethroat and then a bird perched in a tree was identified as a woodlark. Now at the main area we were treated at 12:20 to a nightjar churring away. Even better, Roy managed to find it perched in a conifer and we were all able to watch it for some time admiring its cryptic plumage. Stonechats (males, females and juveniles) performed well and a roe deer was found . Having found the stonechats we eventually located a singing Dartford warbler. A kestrel perched in a tree was scrutinised just in case it was the red-footed falcon that had disappeared from nearby Frensham Common (it wasn't). Before heading back for lunch an occasional swift was hawking overhead.

Back at the cars the Group dispersed somewhat with some taking to the café and others sitting on tree stumps. On reconvening participants started to drop out because of the heat. For the second half of the day we headed in the opposite direction and stopped at the small pond where among other odonata we saw four-spotted and broad-bodied chasers and at least one emperor, not to mention the damselflies. While in this area we had a red kite drift over (it was also seen from the centre). Carrying on we had another Dartford warbler and then a stock dove. We continued on round checking areas of pine wood for crossbills without any joy.

The list was only in the thirties (more or less matching the temperature), but people seemed to agree it had been worthwhile, with the nightjar being the star (and probably a first for a midweek outing).

By John Birkett (leader for the day)