Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Thursley Common - Wet & windy visit.

During my few days of enforced rest last week I made a mid morning visit to Thursley Common. The weather forecast was windy and showers but with the outside chance of catching up with a migrant Whinchat I thought I would chance it. When I first arrived the outlook was promising.
Within half an hour the sky changed quite dramatically as the first of a number of rain fronts moved through.
It wasn't long before the skies brightened and I nearly stepped on a basking Lizard who had already lost it's tail!
Then another individual allowed a quick snap before it disappeared on hearing my footsteps.
During another brief shower I sought shelter beneath a stand of pines and heard then saw a male & female Stonechat but once the rain abated they disappeared into the undergrowth. Behind me and hidden from view a Green Woodpecker uttered it's unmistakable 'yaffle'. I then made my way to a small field in the centre of the common and while listening to the sounds of Blue and Great Tits a Small Copper alighted very briefly for one quick shot.
A few Bees were actively feeding on the abundant Ragwort.
A few Teasel heads still standing.
In the middle of this rough pasture an elderly piece of machinery stands rusting through the seasons.
Exiting out of the gate you can just see the colour of the new heather beginning to recolonise after one of the largest fires some years ago.
Following a path alongside the field I caught sight of the unmistakable 'balloon' flight of a Flycatcher regularly returning to the same resting position. In order to get a shot I had to move out of the shade and protection of the overhead canopy onto the heathland and stealthily crept closer and closer but in full view of my prey. This image is cropped but does confirm that this is a juvenille Spotted Flycather (another first for this year).
Now well past midday it was time to head back towards the car park following one of the many sandy tracks.
Power lines cross the common providing perches for all manner of birds (but not on this occasion) and a navigational aid for yours truly providing I can remember which numbered pylon is where!
Whilst difficult to locate amongst the grasses this Black Darter eventually ceased its erratic flight pattern to rest briefly.
Finally I had fairly good views of a hunting Kestrel through the bins but it never got close enough to have its portrait taken. Another time perhaps.
Well as you can probably guess, no sighting of the Whinchats seen on a previous day but there is always next year! FAB


  1. You photographed so many wonderful treasures! Love that little lizard!

  2. Well done with the Lizards, (great shots), Stonechat, and Spotted Flycather Frank.
    I know what a great place that is to visit, after our trip there in the summer. When I get the new car sorted, we must organise a return.
    Good shot of the Black Darter too. Not seen one of those before.

  3. Glad you found some Lizards Frank; sounds like a good wander. Only been to Thursley once and that was on a grey day too! Ooh and a Spotted Flycatcher!

    A return trip sometime is on the cards methinks!

  4. Nature watching. Its a game of chance at the moment Frank. Close bird photography aside, you did get to see a bit.

  5. It's amazing all the little critters you've got running around out there! I'd love to spend a day with you, I know I'd learn tons of stuff!

    I hope you are doing well.


  6. Hi Shelly. Thanks, I tried my best despite the unsatisfactory weather. It's one of those locations that can be alive with everything one day but on another day it can be as quiet as the grave!

    Keith. You know you are welcome anytime. Let's hope its not long before your transport challenge is satisfactorily concluded.

    Tricia. A Sand Lizard would have been good but maybe they have not recovered so well from the last devastating fire. I'll be in touch soon just in case you need a guide.

    Roy. I agree and I try not go out with too high expectations then everything seen or heard is a bonus.

    Michele. I'm sure there were many more creatures somewhere but they were hiding from the wind. It would be a joy to spend a day with you as well (all that fabulous scenery). Just a pity we are so far apart! Stay well.

  7. Hi Frank,
    You got a wonderful sighting tour, and saw many things! Well done. It has probably been an enjoyable tour! I love the spotted flycatcher shot a lot as well as the black and white shots of the sky. Beautiful!

  8. Well done Frank,outsanding show of wildlife,great Images.Glad the bad
    weather didn't put you off.

  9. OK Frank - I guide would be great :) Saw in the news today that they've released a number of Sand Lizards at a place not that far from Thursley!!

  10. This looks like a great tour you took! Many wonderful photos as always. I really liked your Mallard photos in the previous post, too.

  11. Lovely post Frank.

    Your begining pics are very dynamic in feeling and appeal. My favorite thought is the fence and the tree picture...warm feeling like you could walk through the fence and into the feild behind. Nice.

  12. Lots of great wildlife seen ! Well done on your spotfly too.

  13. It sounds like a very nice morning! All good photos too but I especially enjoy your landscapes which show such a different environment from here. It would be almost impossible to imagine otherwise.

  14. Hi Chris. It would have been good to get a lot closer to the Spotted Flycatcher (OR save up for a bigger lens!) The sky/trees shots were just as it was (NOT shot in B&W)...just the effect of the lighting, weather etc.

    John. Many thanks. We can't let a little rain & wind put us off, can we?

    Tricia. Yes, Anita updated me tonight. Not been to Witley Common for a long, long time, so another location to add to the list for us both?

    Mona. Thank you.

    Crista. I nearly deleted the tree & sky pics just after I took them but glad I waited until I put them up on the laptop!

    Warren. Cheers but I can't keep up with your daily totals....I need to retire!!

    Mick. I don't always think about taking location shots but like your pics it does help to 'set the scene'.


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


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