Friday, 11 May 2018

Dartford Warblers, Redstarts, Whinchat........oh, and of course Colin at Thursley Common

1st May 2018

The first of May so time for a visit to Thursley Common for a photographic appointment with Colin. Colin is the local celebrity Cuckoo for which many consider to be his 3rd year, but some putting it as high as five. His celebrity status is due to the fact that he is regularly fed on mealworms placed strategically on some logs in the middle of a field, allowing photographs to be taken down to just a few feet. But more of that later.

In the morning we headed for the hills trying to avoid stepping on the Lizards basking in the sunshine on the boardwalks.

It was unusually quiet up in the hills with not a single Tree Pipit singing and only a couple of flyover Wood Larks, and it took some time for a Dartford Warbler to make its presence known. Not a particulaly showy bird but every ten minutes or so it would jump up on top of the Gorse for a few bars of its song before dropping down again out of sight.

Back around the Moat the Redstarts were singing away and showing very well in perfectly natural conditions as opposed to the male that was sharing Colin's logs, see the last photo.

So now down to Colin's meadow to see if he was going to feel hungry. Waiting until the afternoon appeared to have been a good strategy, as during the morning there were at least 15 photographers in a long snaking line in front of the logs, but now there were just four apart from us, including our fellow Herts birder Phil Luckhurst which was an enjoyable year tick.

After just 10 minutes Colin flew in and began to feed just 8 yards in front of us. I could of got closer but then with a fixed focal length I wouldn't have got him all in the frame. What an absolute poser!!

But the star of the show today wasn't Colin but the stunning male Whinchat that had appeared in the same field and was also posing for photos on a bramble bush. What a fantastic way to end a day!!!

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