With rain forecasted for most of the day , I had an hour up on the Common , before it started .
It was quite bright when I arrived , and I headed off for the heathland area . As I got there , I had the most amazing , for that area , flyover . From behind me , came a pair of Mute Swans , just clipping the tree tops , not calling , but the sound of the wingbeats was incredible . I watched them out of sight , then noticed a Cormorant heading towards me , and veering off in the direction that the Swans had come from . The nearest water is Keston Ponds , and I have never recorded either species there , let alone over the Common . The nearest water where I have recorded Mute Swans was a pair at the Trout Fishery , but they only stayed a couple of days .
Very soon after this excitement , the first spits of rain could be felt . At least 2 Blackcaps were heard singing , and a Chiffchaff was singing high in the dead Pine . Whilst I watched it , it flew down in stages to a Buckthorn stand , and was greeted by another with wings flashing at the male . He did what was expected of him , and they both disappeared into the Gorse , very close to , and just below the Long Tailed Tit's nest .
With the spits becoming more like spots , I went over and had a look at the Brimstone eggs that I posted a few days ago . As I said in that post , many eggs are predated , and sure enough , those 3 eggs were no longer . If they had hatched , the nearest leaves would have been munched , but there was no sign of this . This Buckthorn is within 20 mtrs. of the Long Tailed Tit's nest , and now , probably , the Chiffchaff's , and with the number of eggs that I saw the female lay , it must be like the local corner shop for the birds . Undaunted , she has been around again , probably yesterday in the sunshine , as I found fresh white eggs as well as those that have matured to a creamy colour . I shall keep an eye on these , and hopefully some of them will make it .
When I was going to the Common , I noticed two chaps removing a Yew hedge on the corner of our road . They had removed all the branches and were grubbing up the stumps , and were still at it when I came back . After lunch , I happened to look out the front window at the weather , and there they were taking 3/4 mtrs. off the top of a row of Leylandii at the bottom of the garden .
Knowing that Collared Doves use the trees , and two pairs were steaming about like headless chickens , I phoned the Council re. cutting trees in nesting time . The answer I got was , it was illegal under the Countryside and Wildlife Act to disturb wild birds at nesting time - but they could not do anything about it as it was in a private garden . So I set off down the road to have a word with the two chaps . I asked if they knew it was against the Act to disturb nesting wild birds . They said that they had checked for nests and found none . I asked if they had noticed the agitated birds flying around , they said if there were any nests , and that they would be below where they were cutting , they would come back to them when they had gone , and that they could cut conifers at any time of year . I hasten to add that they were not tree surgeons , what I would call a 'couple of cowboys' , with no name on the vehicle .
Getting nowhere with them , I knocked on the house door , and was told by the wife that she had looked on the web , and conifers could be cut at any time , but best done in Winter because of the sap , and also that she was a bird and animal lover . I mentioned the Act to her , with the response that she hadn't seen any nesting birds . I said that if the work was done out of nesting period , no problem . Getting nowhere fast , I met the husband down near the trees , who's attitude was that vehicles worth X000s of pounds were parked in the paved over back garden and that the birds I was worried about s--t all over his vehicles and damage the paintwork , and anyway , he shoots birds .
I walked away , unable to make any difference to the situation . When the truck was full of cuttings , job about half done , it left , and the birds settled down again , until tomorrow . I just went looking for some of Warren's tablets .
1 hour ago