Trip reports

Thursley Common

Dartford warbler perching on heather

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Thursley National Nature Reserve, close to Godalming and managed by Natural England, is an extensive area of open dry heathland, peat bog, pine and deciduous woodland.

It is an area that can claim 20 species of dragonflies and damselflies which live around the open ponds and ditches of the reserve. Some of the group managed to list a fair number of dragon and damselflies, including the common blue and large red damselfly, and one or two were able to photograph the birth of a dragonfly. Quite amazing. There were also good sightings of butterflies with keeled skimmer, four spot chaser, brown hawker, black darter, large white, meadow brown, large skipper, speckled wood and silver studded blue all seen during our time on the reserve.

One of the highlights of the day for a number of folk in our group was reasonably good views of the elusive Dartford Warbler. This in itself made the trip worthwhile and thanks go to Neil Greenaway for his bird identification skills.

The Moat Car Park is a good starting point and the Heath Trail guides visitors through the main features of the reserve's landscapes and gives the chance to see some of the special wildlife. The trail is approximately 3.6 kilometres (2.25 miles) in length and can take up to 2 hours to cover, but does not take into account the STOP and SCAN that all good birders do when out on a day trip. Birds seen while we were at the reserve were hobby, kestrel, common buzzard, whitethroat, chiffchaff, stonechat, tree pipit, woodlark, common redstart, wood pigeon, crow, blackbird, wren, green woodpecker, magpie, mallard, goldfinch and the Dartford warbler, already mentioned.

A few of us decided to have lunch at the nearest pub in Thursley village and were well fed and watered in the local community run pub, called The Three Horseshoes.

We were blessed with good weather and entertained prior to our departure at 16.00 by a young man who planned on crossing the large pond (nearest to the car park), on a tight rope. Sadly he was unable to complete the traverse before we left, but we were suitably impressed by his efforts.