On Thursday I paid a mid morning visit to Thursley Common and spent a few hours strolling around one of finest lowland heaths in Surrey. In July 2006 around 60% of the habitat was destroyed by fire but slowly nature is returning. Within half an hour I had my first sighting of Tree Pipit for this year and then listening intently with a strong breeze blowing I picked up the song and then located a male Redstart (another first for 2010). Regretfully neither species was in range of the camera.
Heading up onto higher ground I watched a Skylark burst from the ground and gaining height at a rapid rate whilst singing its heart out before eventually disappearing out of view...absolutley glorious. From within one of the stands of pine trees, slowly regenerating themselves, I heard the deliberate tap..tap..tap of a woodie escavating a hole and decided to investigate the possibility of some photos.
Slowly and carefully I threaded my way trying desperately not to make a sound; difficult when the floor consists of dried bracken, dead wood and fallen branches; but eventually got close enough for some reasonable shots.
Every now and again the Great Spotted Woodpecker ceased hammering the wood and cleaned the dust from his feathers. He eventually decided he'd had enough and moved higher into the pine for a rest.
When I left the hole was just big enough for him to put his head inside so still a lot of hammering to be done!
At the gate I stopped for a rest and saw two more male Redstarts. A Peacock butterfly rested nearby while I listened to the calls of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Wren and Chaffinch. The latter part of my walk was very quiet apart from watching three Common Buzzards soaring effortlessly high over the common.Woodlark (first for the year) .
I hope everyone has a good weekend. FAB.