Bookham Common 23 June 2024

Nine members joined a highly enjoyable Sunday walk.  The fun began the moment we stepped out of our cars and found family groups of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Wrens all around the Tunnel car park.  We could also hear plenty of Blackcaps and Nuthatches in the woods awaiting us.  The weather was excellent: blue skies with high clouds. Crossing the Plains, we saw plenty of singing warblers: Common Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and even a Garden Warbler.  Then, our attention was drawn by the calls of gulls who were mobbing a soaring falcon in the sky to our left.  It had to be a Hobby or a Peregrine, probably the latter.  We also began to see increasing numbers of butterflies: Large Skipper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Comma.  Later on in the walk, we added Speckled Wood, Ringlet, White Admiral, Red Admiral and even a Purple Hairstreak to our list.  (No Purple Emperor or Silver-washed Fritillary yet but due to appear at the site soon).

We passed the Plains car park and found lots of Common Spotted Orchids alongside the path – always a delight.  A Great Spotted Woodpecker climbed high in a tree; Song Thrushes and Blackbirds sang; Jays, Magpies and Woodpigeons flew overhead.  At one spot, a Bullfinch showed very briefly.  Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Dunnock all put in appearances. Beyond the Hundred Pound Bridge car park, we appreciated the shade offered by the tall trees and enjoyed watching a low-flying Buzzard calling loudly above us.  With so much leaf cover, it now became very hard to get any clear views.  Stock Doves called frequently.  When we reached the Bird Hide, we found few waterbirds (Coot, Moorhen) on show, although there were plenty of dragonflies on the wing.  One of the larger pools had three (im)posing Grey Herons, and the ‘Isle of Wight’ pond held plenty of Mallards and Canada Geese. We returned to the cars at with a bird list showing a respectable total of 32 species.


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