Today was sunny so I took myself off to the Surrey Hills to catch up on some gaps in my year list. What I had not allowed for was the blasting wind which ripped across the hill tops. Crossbill was my target bird and first stop was a walk around Leith Hill and Dukes Warren.
Raven has become a more regular feature in Surrey over the last few years. I was not surprised when this large corvid appear across the horizon. I few pictures later and all that could be heard was its familiar call as it sailed away into the distance.
I took a Crossbill free walk around Dukes Warren I decided to head towards the tower where maybe I would have better luck on the way. I drew a blank but I did venture to the top of the tower and scored with three birds.
It was blowing a gale on top of the tower but the views were magnificent. I bumped into Stuart who used to be a key holder at the Farm and after a catch up chat it was time to get out of the wind and head back for the car. It must have been 10c warmer at the bottom.
Another species that has become increasingly rare in Surrey is the Grey Partridge. Origins of birds that occur will always create debate but there had been recent reports in the Chelsham area. Thankfully the M25 would make this a relatively short journey to Beech Farm Rd where the search would begin.
I found a couple of lay-by along Beech Farm Rd and began scanning the edges of the fields. Red legged Partridge were the first game bird to make an appearance. Both birds seemed content feeding in front of the hedge line.
I moved further down the road and scanned a field that was littered with Fieldfare, Redwing and Starling. I returned to the top of the road by Beech Farm where the Grey Partridge had last been reported but there was no sign of them and the sun was now beginning to drop.
|(For the last time he didn't see us!!)|
I’m not sure where my thought process went from here but it turned out to be genius! I returned to the field with the Fieldfare in and parked by the green swing gates just past Milbury Cottage. I was just getting my camera out of the boot and bingo the two Partridge ran up the field stopping to have a domestic along the way before walking up to the brow of the small incline. That was truly a stroke of luck and this species was in the bag and just in the nick of time!