Sunday, 11 October 2009

Weekend walk - Epsom & Ashtead Common.

Needing some fresh air on Saturday I headed over to Epsom and Ashstead Common late mid morning with the camera to see if there was anything of interest to photograph. There was very little activity or sound around the car park apart from a brief appearance of this Robin. Not the sharpest image, but I'm glad I didn't delete it as very few species wanted their portraits taken!
A Nuthatch was calling away in the woodland so the intrepid "EB" stepped off the beaten track and attempted to get closer to the continuing strident calls. While attempting to step quietly through the undergrowth I caught sight of a Goldcrest flitting through a holly tree but too well hidden for any shots. Next where a number of Great Tits briefly appearing on the path ahead of me but again not stopping long enough and a Wren perched on a nearby branch but as soon as I made ready it disappeared. Oh well, I thought, be patient and then I spotted a Treecreeper quickly moving up a nearby oak but probably too far away for a decent shot, but I took a couple of shots for luck. Here is the best I could manage. (Click to enlarge).
Well you can probably guess that I failed to find the Nuthatch but did see fleeting views of both Jackdaws and Crows through the tops of the oak leaved canopy. I eventually made my way to the Great Pond but failed to find anything on the water. Attempts to stalk a Grey Heron proved fruitless as it flew to the far side and the two Black-headed Gulls were more than happy to keep their distance. I then spotted a few dragonflies but despite a 20 minute vigil at the waters edge they failed to take a rest or hover anywhere close to me so I snapped these rushes just to show a 'before & after'.
After leaving the pond I followed various paths while trying to dodge other users (joggers, dog walkers, cyclists etc) and after an hour came to one of the very ancient pollarded Oaks called the "Wishing Tree". The 'face' was not very welcoming so I didn't make a wish! On reflection, perhaps I should have wished for some avian activity but it just wasn't my day!
Shortly after leaving the 'Wishing Tree' I could hear the calls of several Jays but again as I got closer to their hidden location they moved on. There are lots of dead trees throughout the commons which corvids often use to rest and monitor their surroundings but today it was just bare fingers reaching up into the darkening skies.
The north-western boundary path overlooks the arable landscape towards Rushett Farm which I have yet to explore. Despite some recent rainfall the stream bed is still bone dry.
Finally, in the paddock close to the car park a pair of horses were enjoying each others company.
Well I enjoyed the walk and the fresh air.......until the next time. FAB.


  1. Sounds similar to a day I had recently Frank lol

    Good to get out though. ;)

  2. Think I would have headed for the local pub about half way through the day.

  3. You descrbe one of my walks to a tee! sometimes the birds just don't want a photo taken!

  4. Keith. A you've said before "whatever will be, will be".

    Richard. The thought never crossed my mind (liar) I just kept hoping something would turn up. At least I'm not having to contend with snow!

    Warren. That's nature, so unpredictable & there is always another day.

  5. A nice post. Well done on the Treecreeper - hard to capture. I like the dead tree shot. On days like that I just sit somewhere... something is bound to come your way or catch your eye. Better thank watching TV!

  6. Hmmm treecreepers...basically I have given up on getting shots of those little guys, but you managed a shot!!! excellent your little Robin the red just pops out of the picture. I like your old tree shot as well...nice.

  7. A nice walk Frank.
    Them there Treecreepers are very difficult to catch out in the open long enough for a shot.

  8. Hi Frank,
    I guess that some of this feathered little thing are out of range for our camera!! ;-) and for our patience... Tree creepers are really hard to get! I've tried that several time too, and I can tell you that I find your shot BEAUTIFUL!! And some days, birding is out of place too, cause the birds will not let us approach them... That's just life, isn't it?

  9. Angie. Thanks, but not quite as exciting as your Spoonbills etc.

    Crista. Sightings of Treecreeper often occur when you are looking at or for something else. There are many pollarded oaks over 400 years old and they all have different 'faces'.

    Roy. If there had been easier 'targets' I probably wouldn't have attempted the shot but glad I tried.

    Chris. Thanks my friend I'm glad you appreciated the effort!.

  10. Lovely pictures there Frank and that gnarled old tree is really characterful.

    And a Treecreeper - well done on getting that shot; not easy for the camera to focus on.

  11. great blog set up! that's a wonderful looking was a pleasure checking this site out : )

  12. Tricia. There are lots of interesting old trees throughout the common. Looking forward to having the time to explore.

    Matt Hansen. Thanks for looking in on the "Early Birder".


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


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