There were plenty of tits and a few warblers in the copse by Netherstead Farm, including a sub-singing Willow Warbler.
The first piece of good fortune occurred when I reached the pool. I edged along, trying not to disturb the Green Sandpipers, when I noticed a larger wader with them. A Greenshank. This is the first I have seen here since 2012, although I should point out that Dave and I probably had a fly-over bird last August, and we heard, but failed to see, one in 2013.
Continuing along the hedge, the main feature seemed to be a big flock of 120 Goldfinches in the thistle field, plus a few Whitethroats, and Blue Tits. However, all that was to change when I stop dead, thinking I had heard a different song above the twittering of the Goldfinches. A few seconds later there was no doubt about it, "wet my lips, wet my lips" the song of a Quail. As it happened, I had learned yesterday that there were two singing just up the road, at Middle Spernal. So the question is, is this a part of a mini-influx, or has one of the Middle Spernal birds simply relocated? Whatever it's origin, this is only the second year I have recorded the species here, the last being in 2010.
It called several more times before I rang Dave. He said he would come over, so I hung around until he arrived. During that time, not a peep was heard from the Quail, and I soon turned my attention to the butterflies which were appearing now that the sun was out. The highlight was the presence of at least one Essex Skipper.
|A male Essex Skipper|
Dave arrived and after visiting the Greenshank we made what proved to be a futile attempt to hear (let alone see) the Quail. I left Dave to continue looking, and made my way back to my car. However the day wasn't finished with me yet, and as I walked past the dragonfly pools, a plaintive "hweet" call sounded suspiciously Redstarty, and eventually I was able to confirm my identification. Another call to Dave, and after a few minutes he was with me, and able to point out there were actually two Redstarts in the hedge, both juveniles.
|A very distant Redstart|
Finally, pleased to report my Dad is back at his home and on the mend. Meanwhile, at my home, conversation was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a Hummingbird Hawk Moth on the lavender.
|Hummingbird Hawk blur (middle right)|