Friday, 20 September 2013
Local birds for local birder
It's a terrific autumn for Rowan. The image above, taken this afternoon on Walton Heath, is typical of most of the Rowan trees I came across - and I came across several hundred. So profuse was the berry crop that from a distance it looked as if the wood was bleeding. I don't know whether or not this is just a north Surrey phenomenon or if this bounty is being enjoyed across the country.
Do not be fooled into thinking that the scene above is birdless. The outlying grassland of Epsom Downs is by and large of a sterile nature, with only a small amount of rich chalk downland. These poor areas have a series of 'weedy' strips (as can be seen above) that run for several hundred metres and I have got into the habit of walking along them. Most days during spring and autumn will see several chats, pipits or warblers being flushed from the meagre cover. Today I scored with a Whinchat, Stonechat and three Meadow Pipits. I still fantasise about flushing a Corncrake or a Dick's Pipit.
I birded entirely on foot today, leaving home and taking in Epsom Downs, Walton Downs and Walton Heath. I was pleased with the net result of Common Buzzard (10), Peregrine (1), Stock Dove (100), Common Redstart (1), Whinchat (1), Stonechat (1), Wheatear (3), Blackcap (4), Chiffchaff (20), Willow Warbler (1) and Marsh Tit (3). Today my carbon footprint is one that I can live with.