The first stop North Camp Station Ash Vale and I saw the target species Waxwing as I pulled into the station. But the birds had moved by the time I had parked up. I re-located the flock of between 25-30 birds viewing them from a small industrial estate. A Cormorant made an appearance flying to a nearby lake.
The next stop was a brief one at Cut Mill Pond which is on Puttenham Common. I recorded my first Great Crested Grebes of the year and swiftly moved on to my third venue.
Thursley Common is a large area of Surrey Heathland and can be a bleak place to search for birds during the Winter months. A Great Grey Shrike or two are usually present for part of the Winter but there had not been any recent reports of one on Shrike Hill. Once out of the car-park I bumped into a small flock of Goldcrest and Coal Tits with a Wren that was tagging along in the undergrowth. Sadly there was no Firecrest amongst them but it was worth checking.
On Shrike Hill I met David who was also looking for the Shrike. Sadly no Shrike today! A few Meadow Pipits, Woodpeckers, Corvids and a reunion with the Goldcrest flock and it was time to say goodbye to David and leave for my last port of call before returning home.
I arrived at Papermill Water Meadows approximately an hour before dark. Owls were my target birds here. I have seen four species of owl here on a dusk patrol in the past. The water had created a small swamp along the footpath this took some time to negotiate. But before I had reached the viewing area the unmistakable effortless flight of the Barn Owl came into view. The bird must have been curious as to my presence and flew towards me allowing time for me to take a picture.