Since my return from Cornwall I've been a lost soul. The Surrey downs are just not hacking it for birding (they only ever do in short, sharp shocks). My time spent at Canons Farm and Priest Hill has been time wasted, so this afternoon I took myself off to Epsom and Walton Downs and - hey presto - things seem an awful lot better.
The birding wasn't exactly a match for Spurn and Fair Isle, but there was enough (at a local level) to feel vindicated, with a Hobby, 2 Red Kite, a covey of eight Red-legged Partridge and a handful of Chiffchaffs. This area has potential, but there again I say that about almost everywhere.
Non avian highlights were a robust, healthy plant of Red Hemp-nettle on Langley Bottom Farm (above), a Hornet dwarfing a bog-standard wasp on a fallen apple (below) and the magnificent stand of Blue Globe-thistle that was full of butterflies, including a few Holly Blue (bottom).