Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bookham Common Season

A summary of the season at Bookham Common, Leatherhead, based mainly on records from Ken Willmott, but also from Rob Hill, Robin Daniels, David Rayner and myself.  Two superb male territories have been used at Bookham for some 30 years, originally discovered by Ken (Hill Farm and Mark Oak), plus a small third territory by Mark Oak.

1st seen on 29th June at Hill Farm (one male, seemingly the first nationally).  This is probably an average start date for Bookham, though rather late by modern standards there.

No more seen until 5th July, despite vigilance, when 2 males were seen clashing and chasing at Hill Farm. 

11th July: 3 males chasing a pigeon at Hill Farm, but surprisingly inactive during a good sunny spell. 

12th July: 2 males at Hill Farm in poor weather.

17th July: 2-3 males at Hill Farm and 2 at Mark Oak, the first seen at the latter territory.

20th July: All three territories occupied.  Male photographed on ride.

22nd: Hobby takes one of a trio of fighting males at Hill Farm!  Outrage!  First eggs seen laid.  Decent weather at last!

24th: 4 males in vista at Hill Farm, 3 in vista at Mark Oak - probably ca 10 altogether.  Female seen egg laying at 11.25am (early, due to hot weather) and another at 4.10 (late, due to hot weather siesta). 

27th: Egg laying female.

1st Aug: I saw a lovely egg-laying female and a dark-looking territorial male during 15 mins visit to Mark Oak, en route to Box Hill. 

2nd & 3rd Aug: Spectacular mid afternoon activity in all territories, including vista of 6 at Hill Farm.  6 is officially Good (most years have a top count of 3-4).

Hobby again hunting over Hill Farm, on 3rd. 

In all, an above average season at Bookham, despite much poor weather.  And it's not finished quite yet...

Thanks to all, especially Ken. 

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