The Bigg Bird Forum Index The Bigg Bird Forum
The Family Friendly Birding Site
 
AlbumAlbum   FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Elizabeth and Malcolm's Bluetit Pages
The Bigg Bird Forum Index

Wishmoor/Swinley Forest (Berkshire/Surrey)

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Bigg Bird Forum Index -> Places to Visit
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
birdman



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 144

uk.gif
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 2:23 pm    Post subject: Wishmoor/Swinley Forest (Berkshire/Surrey) Reply with quote

It’s a couple of years since I last had the opportunity to visit Wishmoor, but I was able to spend the afternoon there on Saturday just gone.

My previous visit had been one of my best birding days ever, in spite of the fact that by early afternoon the temperature was nudging 37 degrees!

This time the mercury levelled at a slightly more temperate 25 degrees, meaning I only consumed about 5 litres of liquid, instead of the 20ish last time.

Me and my good lady have paid visits to friends down in Oxfordshire on an intermittent basis for the last 10 years or so, and this avails me the opportunity to explore some of the birding locations in the region, down towards the south coast, west towards the Severn and east towards London.

This also means that I get the occasional chance to “chase” one of my long time “wish-list” birds. I can’t really say bogey-bird, because there haven’t been many times when I could realistically expect to see this star. Nevertheless, for as long as I can remember, back to my first interest in birds as a child, I have been keen as mustard to track down a Dartford Warbler.

I’ve visited a number or potential haunts, and unfortunately lain sick in the car at Aylesbeare Common – slacker! – but always drawn a blank.
Last time’s visit to Wishmoor showed me the potential, and gave me a few tantalising flutters of excitement, but as I went completely on spec as a site virgin, I basically wandered around.

This time, thanks to BerkshireBirds’ website (www.birdsofberkshire.co.uk/Wishmoor%20MI.htm), I was able to focus my attention on the most likely Dartford Warbler locations, listening to the artillery fire, checking out the 747s overhead, picking up what birds I could, and maybe, just maybe…?

Well… that was the plan.

Anyway, I arrived quite late, about 11.30ish, and entered via the access point on King’s Ride off the A30 in Camberley.

In fact, before I even set foot in the area, I heard both Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker. Although I heard many more calls, I never did actually see any Green Woodies, but I soon tracked down one of their spotted cousins.

The trees were full or song, so much so that a lot of it washed over me as I concentrated on the GSW, but once I had had sight of that fella, I was more tuned in to the others… tits, finches and warblers evidently, but above them all a very vociferous Song Thrush.

I just listened for a while, not making too many attempts to track down the rest of the singers by sight until a shape flew past me and landed nearby. A fabulous male Blackcap.

Another shape flitted in and stopped close by. This time a female Redstart.

As I followed the ride onward, the song quietened a little and then changed as I moved into more coniferous trees.

There was a rather a deal of squeaking and associated action going on towards the top of some of the trees. I’m not particularly adept at telling all the squeaks apart, so this required a greater effort to make visual contact to confirm any id.

It took a while, but eventually I managed to get good enough views of an adult Coal Tit, who appeared to be in the process of placating its somewhat demanding family.

It didn’t take much effort to “officially” add Carrion Crow, Collared Dove, Nuthatch, Blue Tit and Chaffinch to the list before turning out of the trees as per BerkshireBirds’ instructions and heading down to Wishmoor Bottom in search of my target bird.

En route, I heard a Buzzard calling overhead, and more Green Woody calls. I also heard a lot of “Whitethroats” but I didn’t want to take them for granted without a positive visual id.

Crossing Wishmoor “Brook”, I stopped to try to track down an unusual call in the trees. I spent perhaps 20 minutes on the task, until I finally managed to catch sight of… Great Tits. (“If you here a song in the trees you don’t recognise”…???!!!) Oh well… a tick’s a tick!

Taking a left on to the ride running parallel to the brook, I found a place to sit and scan the heath.

Whilst sitting patiently, I heard, though unfortunately didn’t see, a Woodlark. It was nonetheless a pleasing reminder of my last visit and my first ever sighting of this mournful songster.

The “Whitethroat” calls were very much in evidence, and there were a few obvious perches that I hoped might be used as calling posts. After a while I noticed one in use, but it required my ’scope to get a good enough view. Stonechat… nice!

Another bird was perched atop and adjacent shrub, which revealed itself to be a Reed Bunting, and then finally in flew (yes, Yes, YES!!!) a Dartford Warbler giving his whitethroat-like call. In fact all three birds were in the same FOV.

I stayed a while longer and soon got an even better view of another (the same?) Dartford Warbler and more Stonechats, whilst calls from the trees resolved themselves into, amongst others, the songs of Willow Warblers.

Having finally tracked down Wishmoor’s extra-speciality, I decided to concentrate less on watching, and simply explore more of the heath and into Swinley Forest proper. I made my way towards and past Surrey Hills Reservoir.

There was an almost continuous accompaniment of birdsong, again changing as the forestation changed, yet the final three additions to the list made no sound at all to give away their presence, but I was fortunate enough to see them “in the feather”.

Actually, the first was Magpie… hardly secretive as it scuttled around by the path, but surprisingly hushed.

Next was a Jay, which I think was feeding on the ground, but gave itself away briefly as it shot up into the nearest tree.

And the last addition was a magnificent male Cuckoo, that I was able to track in my binoculars as it flew through the trees, until it settled on a broken branch giving me enough time to get excellent ’scope views.

I confess, I got a little lost making my way back to the car so I was certainly ready for the sit down by the time I got there… but could I possibly have had a better day’s birding?

Well, to be honest, I can easily think of at least 10 species a more skilful or persevering birder should easily have been able to see, but I think Saturday afternoon’s entertainment was cracking birding by almost anyone’s standard.

Really, Wishmoor is a brilliant place and I thoroughly recommend a visit… before dawn till after dusk – if you can last that long!

_________________
Captain, this entire planet seems to be made of widdly-wee!

vvvvvv HEY!!! LOOK AT WHO'S ALL BLOGGED UP vvvvvv

http://prazdnayaboltovnya.blogspot.com/
http://ornitolog-lyubityel.blogspot.com/
Back to top
Tricia



Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Posts: 3579
Location: Surrey

uk.gif
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds a fantastic day Birdman - and well done on the Dartford Warbler. Mr. Green Not that I mind that I've never seen one.
_________________
Tricia
What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?

http://belfiebird.blogspot.com/
Back to top
birdman



Joined: 18 Jan 2006
Posts: 144

uk.gif
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Tricia Very Happy

Well... don't actually know where Esher is, but it cannot be that far away from Camberley... get yourself over there if you can... you won't regret it!

_________________
Captain, this entire planet seems to be made of widdly-wee!

vvvvvv HEY!!! LOOK AT WHO'S ALL BLOGGED UP vvvvvv

http://prazdnayaboltovnya.blogspot.com/
http://ornitolog-lyubityel.blogspot.com/
Back to top
Pete



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 2245

england.gif
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

very nice report Dave

well done on the Darty they are lovely little birds

_________________
Pete

Dethhhpicable
ithhn't it

http://thequacksoflife.blogspot.com
Back to top
Tricia



Joined: 08 Apr 2005
Posts: 3579
Location: Surrey

uk.gif
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

birdman wrote:
Thanks, Tricia Very Happy

Well... don't actually know where Esher is, but it cannot be that far away from Camberley... get yourself over there if you can... you won't regret it!


It's definately on my "to-visit" list. I live in Camberley for about 18 months until 1973 and feel it's time I went back for a visit Laughing

_________________
Tricia
What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?

http://belfiebird.blogspot.com/
Back to top
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Bigg Bird Forum Index -> Places to Visit All times are GMT adjusted for DST
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You cannot download files in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group, subGreen style by ktauber
BBF 1.18.4 integration and modification © 2005, 2011 gasteropod