RSPB Farnham Heath 21 May 2023

Twenty two members met at the Rural Life Centre. Walking out onto the reserve we soon began to hear numerous Willow Warblers and Blackcaps. We then heard a Garden Warbler and eventually a few people in the group did see the bird. The distinctive song of a male Redstart followed and after a while we tracked it down to a group of pine trees for good views.  A distant Cuckoo was heard but unfortunately not seen. Soon it was the song of a Tree Pipit and Woodlark slightly further along the heathland path that alerted us to the birds perching characteristically from bare branches and the tops of trees.  The Tree Pipit did a couple of parachuting display flights for us as we watched.  Stonechats were busy feeding their young and there were brief views of one distant Dartford Warbler.  At one point a pair of Raven flew over in the distance. Through the more wooded areas, we saw a Treecreeper and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Linnets were flying down to the path to feed at one point and we were finally able to have good views of two singing Willow Warblers.

Back at the car park we had one last look back into the reserve in an area where a Spotted Flycatcher had been seen by some other birders.  Sure enough we had some fleeting views of the said Flycatcher through the tree canopy and decided to walk back into the trees but sadly it did not re-appear.  However, we added a Greenfinch to the sightings list plus a Hobby that appeared high above the trees and a Red Kite flying past. In the course of a really pleasant walk in the spring sunshine we identified 32 species of bird. We also saw a couple of dragonflies, some Holly Blues, Small Coppers and a couple of Red Admirals.

Farnham Heath 22 May 2022

Fourteen members met for the group’s first visit to the RSPB Farnham Heath reserve for three years on a warm and sunny Spring morning. Immediately the call of a cuckoo was heard and repeated intermittently throughout the walk while a buzzard soared overhead. At the entrance we had a brief view of a spotted flycatcher and a greenfinch while the songs of chiffchaffs and blackcaps rang out around us. Out on the heath we enjoyed the first Dartford warbler of the day; we were to see nine in total, a remarkable number for a bird that was absent from the reserve only a few years ago. Naturally there was a similar number of stonechats in close proximity including a newly fledged juvenile. A tree pipit provided extended entertainment with its parachuting and tuneful display flights. A redstart was distantly glimpsed while those at the front of the group saw a couple of woodlarks before they concealed themselves in the heather. Whitethroats scratched out their songs around the reserve while in the wooded areas willow warblers fluted and a garden warbler demonstrated why its song is sometimes described as a blackcap’s on steroids. The pool held so little water that it might be called a puddle but around it a few broad-bodied chasers and azure damselflies were in flight. Soon after we saw a pristine four-spotted chaser perched in close proximity. It was though a Dartford warbler that provided a finale circling us in a distraction flight as we inadvertently strayed too close to its nest. It was a productive morning with birds of excellent quality in a species list of 33.