|Spotted Flycatcher, Selhurst Common, 30/6/2018.|
This changed on Saturday, when I was stopped in my tracks by a male Purple Emperor on horse poo on the path down from Great Brook to New Barn. Sadly it took off and flew into Scotsland Brook before I could get a photo, but it was a truly memorable moment, and as a result I gave a couple of hours on Sunday scouring the adjacent woods for more. I struck gold again with another male, this time in Leg-of-Mutton Copse. Purple Emperors look like they’ve had a good year nationally (300+at Knepp!), and it seems that a population does occur here, deep in these rarely visited woods.
|Purple Hairstreak, Leg-of-Mutton Copse, 1/7/2018.|
A raucous Ring-necked Parakeet at Eastwaters last Saturday morning was a slightly perturbing record given the time of year but nevertheless represents a 2018 first, and only the 7th record in the last 5 years. Other decent bird records include the 4th Red-crested Pochard record of the year, on Mill Pond on the 24th, a year high of 72 Mandarin at the same site the following day (a post/non-breeding flock peaks during mid-June every year here) and the confirmation of further Spotted Flycatcher nest sites, as well as successful Firecrest breeding.
I made a brief excursion to Thursley Common very early on Saturday morning, connecting with a smart (but distant) male Red-backed Shrike that had been present for a few days. I'd never seen a male in the UK before so thought I'd go for it, given how close to home it was. As of yesterday it seems he's moved on...
|Red-crested Pochard, Mill Pond, 26/6/2018.|
Of course, one wonders if Grey Heron can be ruled out here, but Ben assured me he sees White Storks annually in Europe, and is 100% certain of what he saw. For what it’s worth, the locally reintroduced Storks can’t fly, and all 21 were present and correct that day. I’ve asked him to submit it to the Surrey Bird Club, though to be honest I’ll be surprised if it joins the <20 previous county records of this species. Nevertheless, an exciting thought, and certainly one to ignite autumnal motivation…