Bookham Common 25 June 2022

Sixteen members set off in overcast and slightly breezy conditions hoping that, even if bird sightings were to be relatively rare, we might come across some interesting butterflies.

We crossed the Central Plain first, where we saw several Common Whitethroats, plus Gold- and Greenfinches and the odd Robin.  A couple of tall Common Spotted Orchids also caught our attention.  Once past the Plains Car Park, we followed the road towards Manor Cottage, briefly entertained by an overflying Grey Heron.  A rain shower didn’t hold us up for long, and we made our way to the Hundred Pound Bridge.  On the way, a few Swallows and Swifts were spotted, and then a Cuckoo flew over, the bird of the day.

As the sun came out and the temperature rose, our attention turned increasingly to butterflies: we saw Speckled Wood, Comma, Red Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and, pleasingly, several White Admirals.  We paused for a while at the well-known Purple Emperor hotspot but sadly were not rewarded with a view of this rare treasure.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed wandering along the recently-widened woodland rides, where Large and Small Skippers were added to our butterfly list, as well as a newly-emerged Emperor Dragonfly.

As we headed south along a less-frequented path through the wood, we heard plenty of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs plus both Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers.  The odd Buzzard also mewed overhead.  The bird hide produced no water-birds at all on this occasion but we did see a couple of Stock Doves and Woodpigeons in the surrounding trees. Despite the slightly disappointing weather conditions the outing was enjoyable with the total number of bird species recorded 21.

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