In recent days I've had Quail in the back of my mind, remembering that happy yet stressful day when 'wet my lips' was repeatedly uttered from a linseed field at Canons Farm last August and how great it would be if it happened again.
I had checked most of the farm and, while scanning from Lunch Wood, Dodge rang to inform me of a flock of Crossbills that were heading in my general direction, I folded up my scope and headed for Banstead Woods in the hope that they might take a liking to the number of conifers there - I had barely taken a couple of steps when the Quail sensors on either side of my head stopped me in my tracks. As usual I had to hear it a couple more times to make sure I really was hearing what I thought I was and then I sent out a text. I didn't actually know where the bird was, it didn't sound too far away and I thought it may even be in the very bare Broadfield - I walked down to Reads Bottom to pin it down and it turned out the noise was coming from the adjacent grassy field known as Horse Pasture.
A steady stream of birders gave it a go, including Badgeman and his cousin Clifford, the Manville brothers, Posh, Factor, Pyro & Gripper. Almost everyone (myself included) had to make do with only hearing the bird (despite putting in many hours of searching) but jammy Phantom and a birder from Ripley enjoyed views of the bird's bust as it sang. A late Whinchat was a good supporting act.
I will visit early tomorrow and hope for some kind of view (a photo would be brilliant) but hearing it is good enough for a patch year tick for me so . . .
. . . Canons Farm & Banstead Woods Year List 2011: 94 (80 at this point last year)