Bird watching through spring and summer

People in a bird hide

Come and experience the wide range of birds that visit or inhabit Frensham Little Pond. With its mix of freshwater lake, conifer woodland and the open heath habitats, Frensham Little Pond attracts many different species that can provide hours of pleasure for those who enjoy watching birds during spring and summer.

Starting from the main car park, following the paths around the pond, up to the common and back over Snowball Ridge will take you through different habitats - each attracting different types of bird. Bring your binoculars and see how many species you can spot. There are some 90 different types that are seen in most years, although be aware that birds can and do move between locations.  What you may miss on one visit, you may catch on the next.  

As you look out over the water you may spot the ducklings of our regular residents - swans, great crested grebes, mallards, not fogetting the coots and moorhens which bob in and out of the reeds.

Spring and summer are the seasons when the migrants appear.  Use your binoculars or the telescope in the hide by the cafe to see if the terns have arrived. We have provided special rafts  to encourage these birds to breed. Artic terns travel huge distances in their annual migration but often return to the same spot for breeding, so providing safe  places for them is a good way to increase numbers. To learn more about identifying terns, check out this video from the British Trust for Ornithology.

In March ospreys have been spotted demonstrating their dramatic fishing skills, as they have a short stopover on their way north.

Frensham Little Pond has some of the most extensive reed beds in Surrey. Listen out for the charming notes of sedge warbler and reed warbler song. If you are walking around the pond at dusk you may catch the unique booming sound of the secretive and rare bittern hiding in the reeds.

Across the heathland listen out for the melodies of the warblers as they arrive to build nests. Willow warblers, whitethroats, blackcaps, stonechats, redstarts and wheatears will all be making themselves heard. You should also be able to spot the aerial displays of the skylarks, woodlarks and pipits. Look out for the bright colours of sisken, bullfinch and goldfinch in the hedgerows. Swifts and swallows will be criss-crossing the sky and the lakes scooping up insects to feed on.

The heath is also the breeding ground for the nocturnal nightjar. These rare birds lie camouflaged through the day emerging at dusk to breed and feed, with the males emitting their unique churring song. However, nesting at ground level means they are extremely exposed to disturbance and for this reason we ask that you and any dogs keep out of the heather between March and September. 

Among the trees, lookout for the unusual species - nuthatches which climb downs trees headfirst, and the treecreepers which search for food by circling up the trunks of trees. Listen out for woodpeckers drumming, and use your binoculars to catch Britain's smallest birds - the delightful firecrest, goldcrest and wren - which can be found here.     

At the end of your walk, why not celebrate with a cuppa and some cake at our welcoming café.

We hope that you enjoy looking out for our feathered friends as you stroll around Frensham Little Pond. We are delighted that  he number of birds observed here  has increased by around 25% over the past five years* and we hope this will continue for their well being as well as our pleasure.   

*Source: BirdTrack, the online database of bird sightings, sponsored by the RSPB, the BTO, The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, the Welsh Ornithological Society and Birdwatch Ireland.