Surrey-side up

Dawn at Canons Farm was a misty old affair, with barely a breath of wind. I went straight to the grassy field behind the farm house, where yesterday the flock of Whinchats were hanging out. For a good 20 minutes there was nothing on show, then they appeared, at least seven still present. I caught a glimpse of a warbler low among them, and in the couple of seconds that my binoculars were trained on it thought that it was possibly a Grasshopper Warbler. I waited awhile, but nothing popped up, and I supposed that it would be a case of letting one slip through my fingers again. Being entertained by the Whinchats, my attention was elsewhere when the warbler popped up again, this time quite close - indeed, it was a Grasshopper. It stayed perched on a dead stem of Common Sorrel for a good minute, allowing me to obtain a few pictures with the camera (above and below).

It was a memorable morning, as a flock of five Golden Plover, a Yellow Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail all flew through eastwards, and a single Wheatear was still being faithful to the field with the straw bales. 

Mid-morning saw me rushing to Priest Hill, where Jason Simpson had located a Wryneck. Alas, he was the only person to see it, leaving a trail of disappointed birders in his wake. Earlier, a Spotted Crake at Beddington had encouraged a procession of observers to pay homage to it from the Southern Lake hide, but being an old-timer, and having seen four previous Spotted Crakes at BSF, I was able to play it all cool and stay put. The weather is looking quite tasty for the next few days. My prediction? A fly-over Honey Buzzard, maybe even another local Wryneck. This time however, I would like to see it...


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