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 .