Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.

Wednesday 8 October 2014


Strange old business, birding. There are a number of bogey birds I have had the displeasure of dipping in Surrey on numerous occasions during the past few years. Yellow-browed Warbler is one, but at the top of the list is that even smaller critter, the Firecrest.

I don't know what it is, but I haven't had a proper view of one for at least four years. Banstead Golf Course is a prime spot for them but I've only ever seen one there a couple of times, and the second of those was for about half a second.

The Devil's Punch Bowl at Hindhead - fabulous place
So it was a surprise when I discovered one last Thursday at the Devil's Punch Bowl at Hindhead.

Hard to believe now but the weather was fabulous at the beginning of the month, and so Annie and I went for what would be the last walk at the Bowl last Thursday before the real autumn weather set in.

We walked along the Highcombe Hike walk, which is about 2.8 miles and includes great views across the area as well as a walk lower down through ancient woodland.

Ancient woodland
It was while walking along the ridge that we came across a mixed flock of birds, mainly Blue and Long-tailed Tits, which got me hoping for a Yellow-browed. Also in amongst the flock were Goldcrest and the first bird I set eyes on through my binoculars, a Firecrest!

What a result and, while a couple of Firecrests had been seen the day before in the area, completely unexpected.

A look at that days recorded sightings in Britain, Firecrests were popping up all round the south-east, including at Esher Common and Thursley Common, so this one was part of a wave of migration of the species that day.

It proves that by not having a target bird in mind something might simply turn up – unless it means walking around my local patch. I've taken a few evening strolls around the Water Colour lagoons, the Moors and Spynes Mere at Holmethorpe, and there's been little about. I even managed to dip a Stonechat, a rare bird for the patch, the other day.

Still, there's still time for a Yellow-browed to turn up locally somewhere or when I next travel down to Margate. A Ring Ouzel would be nice too, or a Dotterel – I think I deserve one of those after what happened a couple of years back... 

1 comment:

  1. It's good to score Neil... here's to more success this autumn!