Saturday, 23 March 2019

Down by the river

The National Trust have recently - well, maybe three years ago now -  opened up a footpath along the northern bank of the River Mole between the Stepping Stones and Box Hill Bridge. Until this morning I had not trodden along this rather delightful stretch of prime Surrey habitat. Meandering along the flood plain at the base of the North Downs, it looks as though regular coverage would pay off. There are shallow sections of the river, deeper pools, a few small vegetated islands, copses, hedgerows running back up the hill and livestock inhabited farmland.

A handful of singing Chiffchaffs announced that Spring was truly here, and a pair of Grey Wagtails gave the impression of scouting the area for possible nest sites. It was, however, a pair of Kingfishers that stole the show, with one bird, a female, giving close and prolonged views perched up in the dark tangle of waterside vegetation (above and below.)

Crossing the A24 I strolled along the southern bank of the River Mole between Westhumble and Mickleham, where the avian highlights were a pair of Mandarin Duck and a gathering of 10 Little Egret, most of which alighted in a dead tree (below). The day was rounded off with attending the Surrey Botanical Society AGM at Box Hill Village Hall, where it was a pleasure to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.

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