Saturday, 23 May 2015

Spot the Flycatcher!

A Bank holiday weekend is always presents a good excuse to spend some extra time birding. The only problem I find with this time of year is the ridiculous o clock start time if you want to catch the dawn chorus!

Thundry Meadow was my choice of venue. This site consists of marshland, wet woodland with areas of mature oak and alder trees. The River Wey runs along the southern edge of the site. The variety of plants attracts a multitude of insects, dragonflies and damselflies. This provides a rich feeding ground for birds.

I arrived just before 7am and was greeted by a multitude of bird song which included a Cuckoo. I donned my wellies and long sleeve shirt for the walk through the woodland area which can be alive with biting insects. Birding in this area is a game of patience with many birds moving around in the canopy. But by the time I had exited this area I had logged over twenty species.
(Spotted Flycatcher)
The next phase of the walk was through the meadows and the River Wey. I spied a Spotted Flycatcher hawking insects from a tree lining the river. The bird was high up and was difficult to see whilst perched but it returned to the same spot which allowed time to creep up and get a couple of pictures of the bird.
(Northern Lapwing)
Mandarin Duck are a regular sight on the river and being the shy duck they are a female was briefly seen scurrying away upstream with its chicks. A solitary Lapwing which seemed lost appeared and disappeared almost as quickly. Small mixed groups of hirundines would appear from the low clouds hawking insects but up until this point raptors were in short supply.
As the cloud lifted and the sun popped its head out intermittently the Buzzard started to appear followed by Red Kite, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. A pale phase buzzard caused a momentary surge of my heart rate but that was to be the last action of the morning. Forty five species recorded with some expected species absent!

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