Saturday, 15 May 2021

Thursley Common and a well known Cuckoo

A recent trip out to Thursley Common in Surrey was fairly successful with all of the expected species seen throughout the day and of course the returning Cuckoo (Colin) lived up to expectations. Arriving at 06.30 am, we were not the first there so had to make do with the perch already set up, nice but sometimes I think they can look a bit too nice, hence giving a "set up" feel about it, which is of course what it is. I joined Tim Gutsell and Andy Hills for the day out and we only had to wait a few minutes before we saw the first visitor to the perch, a Common Redstart, photographed in the early morning light.

During the morning we were able to photograph Redstarts and Wood Larks that took advantage of the meal worms used to attract in the Cuckoo, gathering them up from the floor around the base of the perch and taken back to hungry chicks in unseen nests.

The star of the show was of course Colin and we only had to wait until just after 9 o clock before he put in his first of three appearances to the perch. 

There are only so many images of a Cuckoo perched that one can take and I soon became bored so decided on a stroll around the surrounding heath land looking for Dartford Warblers. I did not have to look far and found at least six different birds, all given away by their song that was even audible to my cloth ears. Unfortunately the sun had disappeared behind a bank of cloud rolling in from the west but still enough light to get a few reasonable images.

All in all a good day out with plenty to photograph. The Cuckoo has a little bit of a "circus" feel to it but is okay (for me) in small doses. Too many people and too much Christmas card like perches. Unfortunately, if you’re not first there then you have to put up with what has been already set up. Thursley Common does offer an excellent day out even without the Cuckoo with most of the expected wood and heath land species found in abundance. 

Well worth a day out on the Common.

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