Saturday, 26 May 2012
Eleven of us turned out for our annual afternoon walk on the heathland at Thursley Common. It was a sunny hot day, with a welcome, gusty breeze. Our first stop was to look for dragon and damselflies at the edge of Moat Pond. Out across the heath, several hobbies were dashing about, swallows were overhead, and stonechats everywhere. On our way along the boardwalks round Pudmore Pond, we picked up reed bunting, a single curlew and dabchick, and a mallard with tiny ducklings. We did see common lizard basking, but not as many as we expected given the sunny weather. We found our best sightings on the sparsely wooded slopes to the left once you leave the boardwalk . A woodlark sat for ages on an exposed twig near the path, giving the chance to watch and photograph it both lit and in silhouette. We also had good views of common redstarts, both male and female. A great spotted woodpecker was flying back and forth the whole time we were there. Back at Moat Pond, we added 3 common terns fishing, and a swimming grass snake.
After pub grub we headed for Hankley Common close by. A tree pipit was spotted flitting around a small birch not far from the car park, and we had stunning views of several nightjars, well before it was really dark. One perched obligingly on a pylon and we could even pick out its whiskers. We rounded the evening off with a soprano pipistrelle, seen in flight and picked up on a bat detector.
We had a total of 47 bird species in a very satisfying trip.