Tandridge Border Path – Stage 3

Saturday’s stage started at Perrylands Lane in Smallfield and finished near Merstham Station, a distance of slightly over 9 miles.

Despite the sunshine there was real chill in the air as I set out at 10:00am.

I was familiar with most of the early part of this walk, as there are various bridle paths involved which I’ve blitzed on my Mountain Bike.

My first “challenge” of the day was trying to locate my first Chiffchaff of the season, a task that wasn’t so difficult as there were so many chiff-chaffing away high up in denuded trees affording no cover.

The next call caused me far more frustration. In total I heard 4 separate Green Woodpecker “yaffles” but it was always whilst I was surrounded bushes and tree cover. The striking bird tends to be most readily seen in open ground hoovering up ants.

It seems altogether incongruous that such a common , oft heard species is still eluding me this year. I shouldn’t complain as this walk yielded 42 species, one of which was near these bluebells to the south of Outwood.

The species in question was a Mistle Thrush, which has a distinctive call not unlike a Football Rattle from the post war years. I bet they don’t feature at Premier League matches these days!

Okay, so this isn’t a particularly good bluebell shot, but even so these early flowers brightened up my day. Further on I came across Wood Anemones and whole mass of wild Primroses.

My All Trails device proved a little temperamental just short of the Castle Inn – and it failed to record a few hundred yards of the route.

I was too early for the lovely Fennel Scotch eggs they offer here, and simply plodded on with only my Lemon Barley for sustenance.

Here’s the Bird List for the day;

Black Headed Gull, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Geese, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Collared Dove, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greylag Geese, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Little Grebe, Long Tailed Tits, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Ring Necked Parakeet, Robin, Skylark (first of the year), Song Thrush, Starling, Teal, Treecreeper (first of the year), Tufted Duck, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer.

Another one the got away was a Goldcrest, gently calling way up overhead inside a dense conifer.

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