An Evening at Papercourt

After a long day at school, and a very hot day in Surrey, I decided an evening trip to Papercourt would be a great way to finish the week. Papercourt looked wonderful in the evening light, with the green of summer everywhere, and birdsong filling the air. It looked promising.

As we began to walk around, the sound of Starlings became more and more prominent, until we saw a small flock of them flying over the main lake, and landing in a nearby tree. There were probably around 40-50 individuals in the flock, and they were making a right racket as the flew around the reserve. Starlings are commonly found in flocks, and are renowned for the seemingly constant noise they make, so this was no exception. Unfortunately, Starlings are officially on the Red List, though this is due to declines elsewhere, as they are still common garden birds in this country. It was a great start to the walk.

A small portion of the Starling flock

Around half way round our circuit of the reserve, I spotted a Kestrel sat on a nearby pylon. The evening light was perfect, and brought out its colours beautifully. We stood and watched it for a bit but, as we attempted to get closer, it flew off across the reserve to another pylon. It is always great to see Kestrels in Papercourt, where they are quite numerous and regular visitors.


The path then moved into a a wooded area towards the end of the circuit. In the evening light, the area under the trees looked magnificent, with an almost eerie green glow covering the ground. It had a very peaceful atmosphere to it, so I made sure I stayed long enough to take some photos.

The peace didn't last long though. A short way further down the path, I met a large group of Jackdaws, getting ready to settle down for the night. They were making an almost deafening racket as they all flew above the trees. I couldn't actually see them very clearly, and I could only identify them by their distinctive sound. Many people would find the noise quite unpleasant, but I didn't mind it at all. It was great to be stood underneath them with them so close, and to just listen to what they were up to for a while. They were clearly communicating in some way, and I occasionally caught a glimpse of a squabble through the branches. It made me realise how little I understand of what life must be like as a bird, especially as intelligent and social birds like corvids. 

After a while, I moved on, and neared the end of our short circuit around the reserve. Towards the end, foxgloves were growing on either side of the path, hosting many different insects, with their pink colour catching the sunlight. It was a brilliant end to a lovely evening stroll around one of my favourite Surrey spots.

But we weren't done yet. We decided to return to our old favourite Papercourt Meadows, the home of 3 owl species. We were hoping to end our outing with a sighting of a Barn Owl. Papercourt Meadows' Short Eared Owls have gone for the year, as unfortunately they are only here for the winter in this part of the country, but Barn Owls were still a possibility. To cut a long story short, we didn't see one, but we did see a few other things, including an evening Whitethroat, which was a great addition to the evening's tally. Sorry that the photo is out of focus.

Papercourt Meadows Whietthroat
Another brilliant trip to one of my favourite wildlife watching spots in Surrey. The Papercourt area hosts a wide range of habitats and species throughout the year, and I thoroughly recommend visiting the meadows to see the owls in the winter.

Thank you for reading.


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