During this glorious summer we are having, I took in a second visit to Thursley Common last week to catch up with the male Red-backed Shrike. I had made a failed attempt a couple of weeks before when the bird first went missing having been seen consistently viewed near the Pudmore Ponds area.
That day turned out to be a bit of a disastrous attempt to visit the Common as the local village was hosting some event around the car park area, with a loud PA and plenty of excitable children around the place. Not what you expect from a visit to this normally serene site. No wonder the Shrike had gone into hiding that day.
I wasn't expecting it to be seen again but luckily local Homethorpe birder Richard Perry rediscovered it in a fenced-off area where a small herd of Belted Galloway cattle were grazing a few days later. I put the word out on Rare Bird Alert and headed over there myself later that week.
|The male Red-backed Shrike|
|One of the juvenile Black-winged Stilt at Oare Marshes|
I occasionally have taken a short walk around the Water Colour and Moors areas of my local patch at Holmethorpe during the early summer, with a pair of Common Tern successfully breeding on Mercer's Lake on one of the pontoons there – only the second successful attempt on the site.
The first of three chicks currently survives, but there is a long way to go before we can truly celebrate.