Chobham Warblers and Kites

Chobham Common is the largest national nature reserve in the south-east of the country and is one of the finest heathland areas left. The reserve is mainly recognised for its bird life, with around 100 different species having been recorded here. The common itself is a mix of small hills, bogs and patches of gorse and vegetation that provides great habitats for many an animal.

A visit to the common was long overdue when we decided to go back. Saturday morning seemed an appropriate time, so we headed off. The first ten minutes or so was relatively dead. But when we reached the first crossroads, we saw our first flurry of activity. There were numerous small birds hopping around on a muddy bank. But, unfortunately, when we got close enough to get a photo, 3 dogs came sprinting towards us, scaring all the birds away.

It was a while again until we saw more activity. We walked up one of the many hills on the common, seeing a couple of green woodpeckers on the way up. We then chose another path, heading back down through an area of predominantly gorse bushes. Birdsong erupted from the bushes ahead of us, so we stopped to see if we could see any movement. 3 Goldcrests flew over our heads, but there was still birdsong coming from further down the path. And then we saw the source of it. A Dartford Warbler hopped up onto the top of a bush, but as I went to get a photo, it flew off into the heather, joined by a second!

I spent the next ten minutes or so waiting in the same area, hoping to get a picture of the bird. Then, just as I was about to give up, one sat on top of a small bush out in the open, allowing me to grab some clear pictures of a bird I have tried so many times before to get a clear photo of.

Buzzing from the Dartford Warbler encounter, we continued on. We saw another few Green Woodpeckers (which seem to be doing very well here) and more distant smaller birds that were difficult to identify.

It wasn't until we were nearing the end of the walk that we got our next treat. From over the trees came a Red Kite. It flew straight past us, seemingly oblivious to the fact that we were there. Its eyes were focused on the floor, and got much closer than we thought it would. A great way to finish a great walk round a great reserve!

Red Kite

Chobham Common certainly didn't disappoint. It is definitely a good place to visit this winter if you can!


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