Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Banstead Woods - Shiver Me Timbers!

Taking any reasonable photos today was going to be a challenge. The skies around Banstead Woods had a carpet of fog which had seeped into the woodland creating a murky and haunted like atmosphere! The paths were generally devoid of humans giving the woodland birds plenty of opportunities to forage in the leaf litter.
I spent a hour or so creeping around The Slangs watching Bullfinch darting across open areas and pathways. The birds would not stay in view for long seeking cover as soon as I was in their view. This species I have very few photos of and probably only a couple of decent shots over the years. 
The woods were very active with bird song which made locating the various species reasonably easy. During my walk round I decided to go off piste and look for Woodcock in areas where I have seen them before. The prospect of seeing a bird on the ground is almost impossibly. I have only photographed two birds one at Titchwell RSPB and the other at the London Wetland Centre. The likely-hood is that if seen it will be a flushed bird! 
After about twenty minutes I’m creeping around in the undergrowth and old “Timberdick” rattles its wings and flies low over the scrub in front of me and disappears from view just as quickly as it appeared. Therefore why am I startled and the heart rate takes a rapid spike! It was what I was expecting to happen… Wasn’t it?! I regained my composure with a chuckle or two thrown in and continued looking before returning to the paths. 
I recorded 22 woodland species during my visit. I decided against venturing onto Canons Farm happy that I had given Banstead Woods good coverage in the conditions!