Today I had about an hour to spare so the question was where do I go. White winged gulls have recently featured at Beddington Farm but they are more likely to be seen when the refuse tip is in operation. The tip grinds to a halt at around mid-day on Saturday and resumes Monday morning, therefore a brief visit to the Farm was not a viable option! Holmethorpe and Canons Farm require a few hours to walk round them so I discounted both these sites.
A Firecrest has recently been seen at Banstead Downs Golf Club. I live about five minutes drive away and have seen this species several times before along the public footpath. Locating one should not pose too much of a problem so off I went!
I walked along the path checking the fence line and the patch of trees running adjacent to the golf course. One hundred yards passed nothing! Two hundred yards and still nothing! This was not looking good but I persevered and stood in an area of ivy clad trees and holly bushes and waited quietly. A small tit flock containing Long tailed, Blue and a Great tits passed through and then I heard the Firecrest call from the fence line. Bingo! Now comes the tricky bit a picture!
Over the last few years I have built up a reasonable knowledge of birding in the local area and when time is short it can certainly pay dividends! Keeping one eye on the local blogs and tweets is also beneficial!