Sunday, 8 May 2011

Bookham Common Sights and Sounds.

Over the last two days I have made two visits to Bookham Common. The first on Friday was to meet up with two ex RHS colleagues and give them a guided birding tour around the various habitats which produced a tally of 35 species although many were heard but not seen. Yesterday Anita and I joined a Surrey Bird Club (SBC) field trip led by Alan Prowse whose knowledge of the common, its resident and migrant species is second to none.  
During both visits the most conspicuous specie was the Common Whitethroat singing from their perches and during their brief display flights. We also caught up with the rattling 'tell-tell-tell-tell-tell' song of the Lesser Whitethroat and were fortunate to get some glimpses but not sufficient for the camera.

 Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) singing its repeated phrases.

Yesterday two male Cuckoos were seen in flight and we were able to confirm that they were indeed separate individuals from the different length of the second part of their calls. At one moment in time we were watching a Cuckoo while one of three Nightingales provided a background soundtrack with both Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat also singing close by. As someone else commented "That experience has definitely gladdened my heart". Other songsters included Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Wren, Blackbird, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Overhead we logged Cormorant, Grey Heron, Buzzard and Kestrel plus the usual corvids.

 Cardinal Beetle.

The overnight rain certainly made everything look fresh and a few species of Butterflies found themselves in front of the lens.
 Green-veined Whites lining up for mating.

 Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

 The distinctive under wing pattern.

The ponds which have undergone a major clearance programme are slowly producing more sightings. Ours included Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Grebe, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and a pair of Tufted Ducks.I have no doubt that one day a passing wader will drop in.

 One of a number of young Coot asking to be fed.

 Just a few of the Mallard ducklings totally ignoring their parents.

Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa).
As the months go by the pond margins should produce a decent list of Dragons and Damsels. Our sightings on the second visit also included Swallow, House Martin and the first arrival of Swifts to give me a total of 42 species which has also helped to bump up my year list.  FAB.


  1. The top Bird is so very very beautiful. Each is amaizng in there own way .
    Love the little babies also. Loved your photography

  2. Oh, the 'mallard ducklings totally ignoring their parents' just stole my heart! they're gorgeous in their cute little reflective selves. :)

  3. A beautiful collection of images. That was as productive two day excursion. Also I really like your header photograph--it is stunning.

  4. The butterflies are gorgeous, and could those ducklings be any cuter??

  5. What a great photo shoot.

    I'm glad to have a connection with enough band width to get into your and other blogs today.

    All the best from the other side of the pond,

  6. Gorgeous just gorgeous photos especially of the little geeslings. Carol

  7. Hi Frank,
    Some lovely shots of a cracking day out!
    Particularly like the Orange-tip shots! I can`t seem to get any of this butterfly, they always fly off just as I focus! ;)
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  8. Great Whitethroat shots Frank. Everyone else seems to see them much more often than I do :(

    Lovely to see the youngsters too.

    That is a beautiful shot of the B-b C on the previous post!

  9. Another wonderful walk Frank!
    Love the ducklings, also the butterflies!
    I've seen the orange tipped butterfly alot so far, even in the garden, alongside small blue butterflies but never quick enough to photograph.
    Heard the Cuckoo recently on a nature reserve. Just love all the bird song this time of year! Just wish I could identify them all!
    Really enjoying the Spring season!
    Enjoy the week! Take care!

  10. Thank you Lisa. Yeah, the little ones get a lot of camera attention at this time of year.

    Hi texwisgirl. No doubt you'll show me some baby Whistlers one day.

    Cheers Willard. A group of experienced eyes definitely helps to seek out the various species.

    Hi Mona. More colourful flutters to come in the next few months .. hopefully.

    Thank you Mike.

    Hi Lois. Great to hear from you as you start another sunshine cruise.

    Thanks Carol. They definitely have the Aaah factor.

    Hi John. I'm told that early am before they really wake up or when they are feeding is the best time. Sometimes you just get lucky!

    Thank you Jan. Strange to say it is difficult to hear anything else above the miriad voices of Whitethroats around here at the moment. You need to hunt out their scruby, bramble habitats.

    Hi Shirleyanne. Doesn't matter if you can't ID the separate species ... just continue to enjoy the choral sounds of Spring. Take care. FAB

  11. Hi, Frank--
    As always your photos are very expertly done. The composition is so nice. I can almost hear that song thrush singing. It's one bird (and song) I will always remember from our one trip to England.

  12. Hi Kay. Thank you. The ST has a very distintive song ... not easy to forget.

  13. Wonderful pictures - the collage of the Mallard Ducklings really caught my eye - beautiful presentation! Just found your Blog and am really enjoying it.

  14. Hi Leone. A warm welcome and thanks for joining 'The Early Birder'. Thanks for the compliments.

  15. It was also a great place to watch the hobbies hunting later in the summer - did you see them?

  16. (Ignore my last comment - I was thinking of Ockham Common!) :-)


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


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