Sunday 2 June 2024

Thursley Common and new Honey Buzzard site

Brian and I set out this morning to check out the newly released Honey Buzzard viewing area in West Sussex. But before we did we visited Thursley Common, hoping to add a couple of year ticks. As we walked past the Moat, I heard my first Garden Warbler of the year. As we wandered along the tracks and boardwalks we heard plenty of Skylarks, Woodlarks, and Tree Pipits, and soon we were enjoying views of all three species. Stonechats were abundant and several Dartford Warblers were also seen. Swifts and Swallows were seen overhead, but as hard as I looked I couldn't find a Hobby! The weather looked perfect as did the habitat, with dragonflies darting around every pool of water, but there was no sign of Hobby. We searched for the recently reported Red-backed Shrike but failed to find it. We checked several areas for Redstart but it was on the walk back toward the car park that Brian spotted one. A stunning male perched on a burnt stump close to one of the tracks.

Dragonfly sculpture



We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time and the best chance to see Honey Buzzards., so we left Thursley Common and headed for Woolbeding Common. The track to the car park was up a single lane and could easily be missed if not paying attention. The car park was quite small and was almost full.  Having parked the car we crossed the road to join thirty or forty other birders. Only one Honey Buzzard sighting had been seen before we arrived, but over the next couple of hours we managed five separate sightings, whether these were different individuals or the same birds we couldn't tell, but we do know that there were at least two birds present as one was a very dark individual and another was very light coloured. The birders were spread out along the ridge which helped quickly get people on the birds as they appeared from different directions.

Honey Buzzard viewing area

Honey Buzzard

Although quite distant for Brian's camera the scope views more than made up for it.


  1. Are honey buzzards being reintroduced or are these "natural" summer visitors? Nice photos from what sounds to have been a tricky visit

  2. Hi, These are summer visitors. The local birding groups decided to make the site accessible to other birders this year in the hope of minimising disturbance.