Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tuesday 3rd. July 2012

As I started down the A3 towards Thursley , a heavy , dark band of cloud stretched as far es the eye could see , with hardly a break to be seen . By the time I pulled into the car park alongside Moat Pond , it was drizzling , but that wasn't going to put me off . It was eerily quiet as I walked through the Pines , and that quietness was reflected as I reached the boardwalk and started walking . With the drizzle was a fair wind  , so hardly any Odonata were seen , just the odd one blown past at speed on that wind . The spot where I would have hoped to find Raft Spiders was completely overgrown , and
the only interest found were some Early Marsh Orchids , most of which were well past their best , but
the odd one was worth photographing , and Bog Aspodel / Narthecium ossifragum , always nice to see . The boardwalk is still a work in progress , as halfway to the point where it divides , there is none . It was here where I got a distant sighting of a Hobby . A bit further on , the calls of Curlew ,
and then a pair lifted off into the leaden sky  I've had to lighten this shot to get some detail on the birds . No sooner were they out of view , a Skylark began singing , and I searched the sky to find it ,
only to find it almost on the ground , singing from an old seat . Still no more than a handful of Odonata , and those seen were Four-spotted Chasers and Black-tailed Skimmers , not a sign of a Hawker species . I carried straight on at the junction , and where the boardwalk bears left passed another birder/photographer , who had taken the wide sandy route from the car park , and had seen
even less that I had . Moving on , a female Mallard with seven youngsters and a small flock of Swifts were at least something to look at , but try as I might , the Swift remained a silhouette . The wide sandy track turned out to be like an episode of 'Jeurs sans frontiers' , as one part was completely under water and odd bits of board had been put down , 'to be negotiated at one's peril' . Once past that , it was back to nothing to look at again , until almost back at the start of the boardwalk when I
found a pair of Stonechats . The male was very vocal and mobile . The female was much more reserved , keeping under cover , but I managed a couple of shots when she let her guard down for a
moment . Passing the start of the boardwalk , I headed for the other part of the heathland walk , soon meeting another birder who was watching a large flock of young Tits and Chaffinches , and he told me , a couple of Siskins too . He had also had a Common Redstart a bit further along . As I passed one of the ditches , the sun briefly appeared and a male Broad-bodied Chaser appeared and immediately got involved with a male Four-spotted Chaser , but the sun soon disappeared , and so did they . In the little copse halfway along the track , I found a young family having their lunch , a great
place out of that wind , and overhead , a male Linnet singing for them . At the junction I turned right onto the main boardwalk and decided to have my lunch . A few more Chasers were around now , but nothing like the numbers seen on previous visits . But my lunch was interrupted by another Hobby ,
soon to be joined by two more , but once again at distance , and difficult to photograph in the
conditions . They didn't stay for long , but during the time they were around , one of them went into a dive over the water , and levelled out , flying right towards me . I knew that the shots would probably be rubbish in the conditions , and that was confirmed when I replayed some on the screen , just too fast and not enough light . Whilst on the visit , I had already had a couple of light showers , but now that sky was threatening something more than that . My step quickened back down the boardwalk ,
only stopping very briefly to get a shot of a male Reed Bunting , singing his heart out on top of a Pine . No sooner had I taken the shot , the wind really got up and the first spots of rain fell , which rapidly got heavier , well before I got back to the Pines , and by the time I got back to the car , it was torrential . I was just glad I wasn't further out when it started . The hour long journey home was 75% in the rain , with horrendous conditions of torrential rain and the subsequent spray , just before turning off the M25 . All in all Thursley had been a disappointing visit , especially on the Odonata front . When I got home , Carol had spent most of the day in the garden , with just a couple of light showers . Once I downloaded all the shots from both sites onto the computer , with the vast majority of the Thursley ones going straight into the Recycle Bin , one shot stopped me in my tracks . Those shots I had taken with the Hobby flying straight at me were all blurred and were dumped , but at the last moment the bird must have turned side on and ,
So the Thursley visit didn't turn out so bad in the end .


ShySongbird said...

Lovely Early Marsh Orchid and Stonechat photos Greenie and very well done with that great Hobby pic, you must have been very pleased with it! It is such a thrill when you find you have at least one good photo in a batch which you expect to be rubbish.

RogerW said...

Wow! Fantastic photo of the hobby! Must've made your day to see how well it'd come out

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