Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sunny Patchwalk.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I returned to Epsom and Ashtead Commons in search for something new.

For nearly two hours up to midday I trekked slowly around Epsom Common Pond and across the grassland heath. Initially the bird song was prolific and on two separate occasions I heard the wistful song of Willow Warbler in the background but couldn't locate them in the tree canopy. I did however just manage a shot of a Chiffchaff (above bottom right) as it took a break from singing to glean some food from the brambles. Great Spotted Woodies were chasing one another, a pair of Blue Tits were spotted copulating and the insects were also in the same frame of mood (above top right). The usual incumbents were on the water; Canada Geese, the various pairs occasionally having a tiff with one another; Coot, Moorhen, Mallard and a single male Tufted Duck. The only species amongst the gorse was a Dunnock so maybe the Whitethroats have still to arrive. 

On my way back to the car for refreshments I switched into stealth mode and slowly crept up on a Grey Heron doing a single leg balancing act while watching the water for a possible meal at the Stew Pond.

After a packed lunch I headed off and traversed the various tracks throughout Ashtead Common. With the sun pushing up the temperature to around 22C it was good to find some dappled shade while admiring the Primroses and the natures own sculptural art in the form of the dying veteran trees that litter this landscape. A brief detour out onto the fields to catch up with the displaying Lapwings and a decent view through the bins of two Skylark while the farmer was watering various dry patches where the seed has not fully germinated.

Nearly at the end of my walk I again heard a WILLOW WARBLER singing and this individual  
tried my patience as it only presented a rear view shot while fluttering its wings and tail feathers so I'll dedicate this image to Dave Lewis of Birds from Behind.

Anyway I waited and eventually it provided a couple of slightly better views before disappearing. 

A lot of effort for one new patch tick but being out in the sunshine made up for the lack of migrants. FAB.


  1. Warblers make such lovely sounds. And by the way, that is one strange tree in that collage. Looks like something has been eating away at it. Carol

  2. glad it gave you a front shot in addition to the rear view... :)

    love the old stumps. more, more!

  3. You get some shots from interesting angles. :) Lots of good ones here!

  4. Nice set of images. That tree with the hole in it presents an interesting picture. Several things came to mind while I studied it. You had a very productive day!

  5. Sounds like an awesome day! Glad you got to view the Warbler :-)

  6. Nice Post Frank,yes everthing is beginning to move now.Good to see you caught up with the Willow Warbler they can be very testing at times, but your patience was rewarded.

  7. I love the rear view and yes it is almost as if Dave had posted a picture on your blog ;-) You got a nice days and beautiful pictures.

  8. A very nice post Frank with a good variety. Lovely to see the W/Warbler and you got some good shots.
    FAB in "stealth mode", we have to see this.{:)

  9. It was a glorious day, yesterday, Frank. The WNW wind`s took the edge of the temperature today, though.

  10. I think Willow Warblers are lovely, rather delicate looking birds, well done with the photos of it and also with the result of your stealth mode!

    It really was a lovely day to be out and about yesterday, not quite so nice here today but apparently will be lovely again tomorrow :)

  11. Nice pictures Frank. I felt like I was on that walk with you. So nice to have better weather now! Take care.

  12. Hi Frank, I was going to say bottoms up but thought better of it!!

    I have willow warblers in the garden at the moment. You have done much better than me, as I still have not been able to get an image.

    The weather is lovely.....very warm for early April.

  13. A lot of effort for one new patch tick :-) Frank, I sometimes get nothing for weeks !!! :-)

  14. Hi Carol. Warblers are what makes Spring so enjoyable. The tree is probably over 400 years old so I think it's allowed to look that way!

    Hi texwisgirl. Yeah, nice to get both ends!

    Hi Lois. I just take what is offer most of the time.

    Hi Mona. I thought it looked like a wise old man .. lol.

    Thanks Cindy. It kept me waiting a while.

    Yes Monty, patience is part of the game.

    Hi Chris. I'm sure Dave does it far better than me.

    Thanks Roy. Thank my lucky stars you weren't around to watch the modus operandi!!

    Cheers Dean. Some warm southerlies would be good just now.

    Hi Jan. The WW has a lovely song but often drowned out by the other early migrants. A good run of sunshine forecast for here.

    Hi Cheryl. Chin .. chin will do! I definitely envy you with a local WW. Yes, I'm sure we plus the garden and wildlife are going to pay for this mini summer!!

    Hi Warren. I thought of you as I was trudging around. But as you say "If you don't put in the effort who knows what you may miss!"

  15. Hi Ginny. Sorry, I didn't mean to miss you out. Glad you enjoyed the sunshine walk with me.

  16. Thanks Frank!
    I'm happy to see that spring has arrived for you and you have a great series of photos to prove it!

    I now have competition!

  17. Thanks for the compliment Dave. No need to worry, I won't be chasing butt shots by choice ... you are still the master.

  18. Hi. I've linked your post in the latest IATB here.

    If you would like to contribute to more IATBs, please check out the details. (IATB is's I and the Bird, bird blogging carnival.)


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


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