Sunday, 11 April 2010

Sunday 11th.April 2010

I spent yesterday with others members of the Surrey Hedgelaying Group , Tidying up the coppice area , where much of the materials , mainly Hazel , was harvested to be used in the hedges layed during the past season . All the used Hazel stools were coppiced completely to the ground , which will encourage good growth over years to come , and will be used in 8/10 years time . Only problem is that Deer are very partial to the new shoots when they start growing , so a hedge was layed , partially living and the remainder 'dead hedged' , using brash that had been discarded whilst harvesting , in the hope that it will keep the Deer out . There was plenty of birdsong , Blackcap , Chiffchaff , Song Thrush , Nuthatch and Blackbird , but no sign of the Common Buzzards that we often see/hear whilst on the site . Only photo was this Blackbird's nest with four eggs , in a hedge layed 2/3 years ago , and a metre away , was the remains of a last year's nest . Two Swallows were seen around farm buildings on the way to the site .
This morning was nothing like yesterday , with full cloud cover and a cool wind . I decided to put the fleece back on and have a look around the Farm lake . Straight away on arriving at the bank , new life could be seen , in the form of nine Mallard duckling , skipping about the lake's surface , under the watchful eye of Mum . A bit further around the lake , a glimpse of red in the dead reeds , turned out to be two young Coots , that couldn't be more than a day out of the egg . Even so young , they were confident in leaving the nest and waiting for the parents to bring their food . Also aware of the parent's alarm call , which had them disappearing into the thickest vegetation , till the danger was past . Apart from them , the usual Moorhens in the far corner , and a single Little Grebe , in full breeding colours , calling occassionally and getting a reply from another thick patch of vegetation , where the nest is probably sited . The Cowslips that were just breaking bud , have now opened fully and are adding a splash of colour all around the lake . The only other interest was a single Swallow seen hawking over the adjacent field .
I then visited the Common , paying attention to the heathland area . My arrival was greeted by a male Blackcap in full song , but he looked as if he would do better catching a few meals and then singing . Needless to say , he was not singing alone , this being one of several Chiffchaffs singing in the area . And , where you have singing males , there are usually listening females , and that's just what this one seems to be doing . I also recorded a large , probable female Sparrowhawk , and a large raptor at distance , that I would assume was a Common Buzzard . Lots of large Buff-tailed Bumblebees around again today , and several Peacock butterflies , with just the odd Brimstone seen today , but this one stopped patrolling for just long enough to get a shot , before he resumed . Before getting back to the car , I stopped at the Ash tree that will become the centre of attention when the Purple Hairstreaks emerge in mid Summer . Although the black leaf buds are still very tightly closed , the flowers are opening . The pollinated ones will mature into the'keys' that will remain long after the leaves have fallen in the Autumn , and provide food for many of the Finches in hard times .


Warren Baker said...

Blimey the 'A' word already !!

Good chiffy photo's today Greenie, I could do with a brimstone photo for my butterfly collection.

Dean said...

Brill photos again Greenie.

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Back to the 'ol' hedge laying huh? You are doing well finding the early youngsters The young Coot's always make me smile.Nice photo's