Mogador shines

Two large chunks of the day were spent birding across the rank grassland and arable farmland of Mogador, the Surrey village that sounds like a place straight out of a Tolkien novel. For the first visit I was joined by local birder and Holmethorpe-legend, Gordon Hay. We were delighted to find that the first influx of autumn Meadow Pipits was apparent, with 50 birds in a loose flock that happily drifted around by our sides. At least five Wheatears and a couple of Stonechats entertained us, and the two Yellow Wagtails that came in from the north and alighted in the long grass were most welcome. It was not until the end of our visit that an immature male Common Redstart bestowed upon us a distant sighting.

I was alone in the early afternoon, and it was at once apparent that there had been a further arrival of chats, the Stones having increased to three and a Whin newly in. All five of this mornings Wheatears had moved on, to be replaced by three fresh ones, clearly identifiable as new on plumage features. At 14.45hrs I picked up a high raptor that was purposely heading east - an Osprey. Only a few hours earlier I had been moaning to Gordon that I didn't seem to pick them up on passage as frequently as I should. Final counts were: 1 Osprey, 2 Red Kite, 1 Peregrine, 50 Meadow Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 8 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat, 1 Whinchat, 1 Common Redstart, 10 Chiffchaff and 15 Yellowhammer. Mogador is a delightful place to bird, and one that few people seem to bother with. I always see something of note and believe it has bags of potential. So far my 'best' here has been Ring Ouzel, Crossbill, Golden Plover, Tree Pipit, Common Snipe, today's Osprey, plus large counts of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, winter thrushes and Yellowhammer. I don't mind ploughing a lonely birding furrow here, it's a place to chill and discover, although I have a feeling that Gordon will be coming back...

This worn Purple Hairstreak, spotted by Gordon, is getting rather late now.


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