Paul Matson met an enthusiastic group of Black Down and Hindhead Supporters in the lower car park at Black Down on a bright and sunny June morning, with a brisk north easterly keeping the temperature down. Even before leaving the car park the group had heard the songs of firecrest, blackcap, wren, blackbird and robin.
Making their way towards the main heath area, a chiffchaff was singing away as the group tuned themselves in to identifying as many birds as they could by song. The main target was to see as many of Black Down’s heathland specialists as possible. A singing common whitethroat obliged by sitting on top of a bare tree allowing good scope views, and the first of many linnets was also seen.
A woodlark was delivering its song from the top of a pine and a willow warbler from the top of a birch, all co-operating for prolonged views, as were some siskin that alighted in an open birch. Further along another woodlark was delivering its delightful song from the air and more linnet continued to dash past. A distant buzzard was seen as was a closer Kestrel.
The group then found the first of many stonechat with young birds close by, indicating successful breeding. A carrion crow sat ominously on its perch seemingly viewing our movements. The group heard a goldcrest, its song differing from the earlier firecrest. Another bird feeding young was a dunnock.
A garden warbler allowed itself to be seen eventually and whilst observing more woodlark on the ground the group found crossbill in one of the pines with the smart female giving excellent views, and another couple of birds flying over including a male.
As the group walked back through the woodland, a Dartford warbler was heard but not seen, as was a redstart. A marsh tit was the final bird adding itself to the list – an impressive total of 27 species recorded in a very enjoyable morning stroll around this special heathland in fine weather.
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