Heathland Birds

Surrey is fortunate to have a large number of heathland sites. Heathland is an often overlooked habitat, but is home to a number of species you won’t often find anywhere else.

In the last few years Dartford Warbler numbers have been on the increase, and you can now find them in four or five sites locally. They’re a species that has always eluded me, but this year my luck finally changed and I had a memorable evening in late May photographing them at Brentmoor Heath.

Thursley Common is the local jewel in the crown, and is best known most recently for one bird in particular. ‘Colin the Cuckoo’ is now a local celebrity, and people travel from far and wide to see and photograph him. He’s become totally accustomed to humans and so it’s possible to get very close to him without causing any distress. It’s not just Cuckoos though, at Thursley you are also likely to see Redstarts, Stonechats, Chiffchaffs, Treecreepers and Hobbies, to name but a few. Redstarts are a particular favourite, such a stunning looking bird, and this year I had better luck with them than ever before.

I’ve always had a fascination for Treecreepers, a very enigmatic bird, and not something you see every day. This year, thanks to someone very kindly pointing out their nest, I was able to spend some time watching and photographing them as they went about feeding their chicks.