Yesterday I took a gamble & went to Thursley Common in the hope of seeing one or two of it specialities (Dartford Warbler & Woodlark).Thursley NNR is one of the largest remaining fragments of Surrey heath and includes areas of lowland heath, mire and woodland. The site supports a range of typical heathland wildlife including large invertebrate populations. The reserve's mixture of mire and wet heath is one of the finest examples of its type in southern England. The site contains bog pools, sphagnum lawns and, in drier areas, tracts of cross-leaved heath on the sandy soils. Damp areas support carnivorous plants such as sundew.
Bog asphodel and marsh orchid may also be seen. Large populations of grayling and purple emperor butterflies can be seen here and of course the silver studded blue butterfly which I understand has thrived following the catastrophic fire that tore through 400 hectares in July 2006 devastating 60% of the wildlife habitat. There are also 26 recorded dragonfly species. It has also been one of the few inland breeding sites for Curlew but will they return again this year? The best time to visit is from May through to September for birds (Hobby & Nightjar), dragonflies & flowers.
I walked for approx 2 hours, much of the time, in complete silence apart from the squelching of my boots on the very sodden ground. So here are a few views which also show the effect of the fire. Whilst vegetation is re-emerging it will take years for the area to return to it's former glory, if it ever does!
When the sun eventually decided to break through, somewhat watery, a few birds appeared. I did not locate Dartford Warbler or Woodlark but did see:
- Canada Geese (2), Mallard (10), Moorhen & Tufted Duck (3) - All on Moat Pond
- Green & Great-spotted Woodpeckers
- Goldcrests (2)
- Coal Tit, Blue & Great Tits
- Meadow Pipits (5)
- Jay (3)
- Siskin (3) - I had to strain my neck shooting high up in the tree canopy and a little work later on the laptop to produce this image of a Siskin.