An inland patch - especially one without water - can be a trying thing. It goes without saying that, at times, the birding will be hard work. Falls will be rare. Rarities will be even rarer. But then again, rarity becomes relative!

A flyby Grey Wagtail and a skulking Sedge Warbler would hardly bother the hardened coastal watcher to raise their binoculars, but this morning, for me at Canons Farm, they were patch gold! Species number 99 and 100 no less! And not long afterwards number 101 came along, but this was something altogether better - Canons Farm's first Merlin, that flew 'bat-out-of-hell' like across the fields and disappeared south. When you factor in a Wheatear, a Spotted Flycatcher and a handful of Chiffchaffs, it was a pleasing visit.

If you would like to find out more about Canons Farm then you can visit the website by clicking here. It will give you a flavour of the highs (and more numerous lows) of trudging around Surrey farmland and woodland. But for those that look and look again, the rewards can be surprising. 135 species of bird have been recorded there, which isn't bad for a site that has a tiny woodland pond as its sole water feature.


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