I forced myself to get up and out of the house by 5am this morning, so as to allow for as much birding time as possible before work was due to kick in back home. My first target was Chobham Common - initially I was thinking of getting there to try and see Nightjar at break of dawn - but that was ambitious and it was raining, which also put me off.
It was a good place to start the morning tour as it turned out. It's strange, I go searching for one, not particularly uncommon, bird (Marsh Tit) and draw a blank, and yet when I look for another, of which there are just a handful, I find one within minutes.
So it was this morning. Just ten minutes from stepping foot on the Common I heard the distinctive light song of a Dartford Warbler (135). I had been told by Bob Warden that a bird had been heard here a few weeks ago, and after a brief search I saw the male bird singing on top of a gorse bush. What a relief. These birds have been a concern for the wildlife community because their numbers had been culled by the brutal winter. I walked around a bit further and saw another sighting - although it could have been the same one.
A Cuckoo was also singing continuously in the distance and eventually I had a good view of it - my third sighting of a Cuckoo this year - perched on top of a tree before it flew off again.
Other birds on view were four Stonechats and three Coal Tits, plus the usual suspects - Meadow Pipit, Skylark and Greater Spotted and Green Woodpecker.
Having decided I'd hassled the Dartford Warbler enough, I headed off to Staines Reservoir - which turned out to be a waste of time. Just two Common Terns on view. After that it was down to Oxshott Common, where I had made a first visit on Saturday. Another couple of Spotted Flycatchers and two Goldcrests were the highlights as the rain came down.
My final destination was Ashtead Common - another first visit. This is a fantastic woodland area, which I managed to get lost in, and here I saw a Hobby fly by. So, all in all, it was a good morning.