Sunday, 31 May 2009

Sunday 31/5 Part 1: RHS Wisley

The 2nd of our Spring Bird Walks today with just an elite band of 15 RHS members including many regular faces, a few new participants and Keith [holdingmoments] who had travelled south to join me for a day’s bird watching. My co-leader, David, had already clocked up 30 species on his walk in from Wisley village via the gardens so with a clear sky, the sun shining and a fairly strong breeze I asked our participants not to be shy about calling out every sighting in the hope that we could match and overtake David’s early am list.
First up were House Sparrows on the roof of the main building and then this very confiding Dunnock in full voice. Blackbirds on the lawn; Goldfinch perched by the pathway and House Martins wheeling
above us. A sighting high above us of our first raptor, a RED KITE (a 1st for any of our bird walks) and we watched this individual twisting and turning on the high thermals, using its fanned tail as a rudder, with such ease for some minutes. Next up were Jackdaw and Crow followed in quick succession by Swifts, then a Common Buzzard and two Hobby’s.

Then further ahead of us a Kestrel was hovering above the Rock Garden.
We watched Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch on the large feeder plus 3 Mallard waddling across the grass. A Wren belted out his song as we entered the Wild Garden, and finding some shade we heard a Robin, a Jay was perched high on a dead branch, Blue Tits (many young ones) frantically feeding, a Song Thrush uttering its repeated phrases and then a flash of brilliant blue as a Kingfisher dashed through the shrubbery. As we exited the Wild Garden a Cormorant flew past and there was another brief view of the Red Kite drifting high above us. At the lakes on Seven Acres there were the usual Mallards, a single Moorhen and Coot on a nest with 4 chicks sporting their ‘punky’ orange-red hair. At the edge of the Pineatum a Chiffchaff was heard in the distance and as everyone gathered along the path overlooking the river some participants caught sight of a pair of Kingfishers dashing downstream (I was obviously looking elsewhere or talking!). Further along the river path we were serenaded by a Blackcap, typically hidden from view; Grey Wagtails feeding on insects over the water and a pair of Tufted Ducks way in the distance on the banks of the Golf Course Lake. Both young and adult Great Tits plus at least four Nuthatches were busily hunting for food above us. The age and sex of a Grey Heron standing motionless on the far bank of the river was discussed but no firm conclusion reached.

The Wildlife Area was fairly quiet apart from the intermittent song of another Wren and Blackcap but masses of Banded Damoiseles were dashing about around our legs. Canada Geese with goslings were observed marching across the Golf Course and a Mute Swan was slowly drifting upstream towards us. After a brief discussion I decided to return along the river footpath just in case the Kingfishers made another appearance. David pointed out the sound of young Great Spotted Woodpeckers calling for food and the nest hole only a few feet above the ground was located. I decided we should wait and see if the adults would return with a juicy titbit for their babies. Whilst the adults reappeared on a number of occasions they refused to enter the nest as other visitor were walking along the adjacent path. So patience prevailed and after about 20 minutes one adult did return (sorry about the quality of these shots, somehow I must have picked the wrong settings!).
The adult disappears into the nest hole.
Other sightings were Starling, Parakeet and Collared Dove bringing our total to 36.

After eating our packed lunches Keith and I headed off for another location to find some different birds and hopefully dragonflies for him to photograph - Part 2 will be posted when I have chosen a few relevant images.


  1. Nice series of photos! Always love your narratives, to descriptive and precise.

  2. I liked seeing that impressive Red Kite in flight!

  3. Great Dunnock photo. Red Kite!! they are everywhere now - brilliant!

  4. im pritty sure that the raptor in the pic is a just doesent look right for that species.mabey its the light of the camera the blog by the way keep it up

  5. Beautiful Dunnock shot and great capture of the Hobby.

  6. I think I may have missed a few of those birds Frank, but I had an excellent day. Was good to meet up like that.
    A great place to visit, and patience paid off with the woody in the end.
    Thanks again.

  7. midlands birder. Thanks for proof reading for me. My mistake - I uploaded the wrong photo so I've amanded the 'title' of the image.

    Mona. Thanks & I'm pleased you enjoy the narratives.

    Shelly & LBJ, I'm sorry but I didn't capture the Red Kite (too high), the pic was a Kestrel!

    Warren. There have been a few sightings over the gardens this year, but this was a nice 1st for us & hopefully there will be more to come.

  8. Keith, it was good of you to make the trip & glad you enjoyed our stroll around a small part of my
    2nd garden. I am still working on Part 2 so you'll probably beat me to it. Cheers Frank.

  9. What a nice walk this turned out to be..6 more species than the am walk!!
    I loved seeing the kite and that great-spotted woodpecker..I've never seen on before!
    A wonderful post..very descriptive!

  10. Frank lovely lovely shot of the Dunnock I love the detail of the bird. Nice

  11. Tina & Crista. Thanks for joining us on the walk.


I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.


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