Saturday, 30 April 2016

Surprises in Priest's Field.


On Thursday I arose just before sunrise and above was the scene that greeted me at Thursley Common an hour later. Bitterly cold and a veiled mist hanging over the silent, watery landscape.

Fortunately with a cloudless sky it didn't take long for the sun to perk things up providing some opportunities to store some reflective shots for the archives.

The first bird to catch my attention was a lonesome [Barn] Swallow taking a rest on the overhead cable line after its long northerly journey from Africa.

As I gingerly trod along the slippery, frost covered boardwalk I was accompanied by the twitterings of several small groups of Goldfinch moving from tree to tree.

While listening to a Chiffchaff singing a Curlew (see below) erupted noisily from the bog and made a very high circuit of the heath. Over the next 20 minutes two other individuals joined in this early morning excursion. 

My main quarry on this particular morning was to hopefully get some more snaps of the Common Redstarts but as I neared Priest's Field my attention was distracted by the call of a male Cuckoo and then an unmistakable shape flew into the trees bordering the field. I approached as stealthily as possible and caught sight of a Cuckoo on the ground and just had time for a distant record shot before it flew back into the trees to join its partner.

The mass of small branches made it difficult to focus on the other half of this partnership. After a few minutes they flew off together with the male uttering a brief 'sore throat' call. Strangely over the next two hours I never heard the male call again.

As topping on the cake, so to speak, I then heard a Tree Pipit calling while I watched a Meadow Pipit plus two Woodlark feeding in the field. Then nearby another year tick appeared; a male Northern Wheatear in his breeding finery.

This chap was stocking up before he continues his way northwards to breed. After all these distractions I did see seven Redstart but none came within reasonable range of the lens!

Linking to:
Saturday's Critters
Through My Lens


  1. Looks like you had quite the early morning adventure, Frank. Beautiful shots. The North Wheatear is very attractive in his fine breeding plumage. Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Hello Frank, I love the first scene, very pretty. The birds are all great sightings. The Barn Swallows are sweet, love the Goldfinch and the Curlew. Cool sighting of the Cuckoo! Great collection of photos.
    Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  3. It was a great observations. You've seen great birds.

  4. A nice 'Spring morning' shot to open with Frank and a good selection of birds to round off the day too. Great find with the Cuckoos and those stunning Wheatears...I witnessed a large passage of Wheatears passing through the local hills early this morning, I wonder if they just might have been the one's that stopped off to say 'hello' to you?[;o)

  5. Lovely misty photo to start with.
    Looks like you had a grand visit Frank.
    I think that's the first time I have ever seen a photo of a male cuckoo. What bright yellowy orange eyes it has.

  6. It's always a nice surprise to see so many birds early in the morning. We like to look for our 'regulars' but usually see something different when we walk on our favorite paths. Enjoy your weekend!

  7. The reflections in your first images are just lovely. Plus a great selection of birds for us to enjoy.

    All the best Jan

  8. WOW! That was a great outing for you Frank. Not often can one photograph cuckoos and that is a glorgious shot of th Wheatear. However I love the atmosphere of that 1st shot.

  9. Stopping by I'd Rather B Birdin' this weekend to add your link to the tool there gave us a thrill; thank you!! The pipit is such a striking, beautiful bird. And the eye ring of the

  10. Thanks for all your kind comments.

    I will be returning to this location when the warm sunshine brings out all the dragonflies and their predator, the Hobby.

  11. Beautifully written (and easy to translate). I enjoyed your birds. What a variety of beauty

    1. Thanks very much. Glad you enjoyed this post.

  12. Thanks for sharing your birds. Have a great week!

  13. Some interesting finds and lovely in flight photos.

  14. Wow! Great finds! Love your beautiful photos.


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


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