Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - Au­gust 2016 PAUL TRODD

BAGSHOT HEATH is part of a large sec­tion of clas­sic heath­land, bogs, com­mons and acid wood­land strad­dling the bor­ders of Sur­rey and Berk­shire to the north of Cam­ber­ley, and ad­ja­cent to Sand­hurst Royal Mil­i­tary Academy. Con­ser­va­tion bod­ies have opened up sig­nif­i­cant sec­tions of land from conifer plan­ta­tions in re­cent years to en­able the pur­ple-flow­ered heather to flour­ish, along with gorse, bracken and scat­tered Scots Pines. At Wish­moor Bot­tom a small wa­ter­course adds an im­por­tant habi­tat in the dry ter­rain. Typ­i­cal heath­land birds should be en­coun­tered along the walk but be­come more dif­fi­cult to de­tect as the breed­ing sea­son con­cludes. A few Red­starts and Tree Pip­its should still be present, plus Night­jar at dusk, while Dartford War­bler num­bers are at their peak with fledged ju­ve­niles call­ing from cover. The Deer Rock view­point can pro­duce a good ‘viz mig’ early on in the day, and rap­tors later in the morn­ing; keep an open mind as Goshawk, Honey Buz­zard and Osprey can be noted. The land­scape and at­mos­phere has changed since Wil­liam Cob­bett de­scribed Bagshot Heath as ‘bar­ren and mis­er­able’ in Ru­ral Rides, in ref­er­ence to the vagabonds and rob­bers that ac­costed trav­ellers along the old Lon­don Road back in the day. Cob­bett would have been shocked at the over- de­vel­op­ment of these heaths and com­mon lands to roads, hous­ing and the mil­i­tary. Visit late morn­ing for soar­ing rap­tors from Deer Rock Hill War­bler


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