Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Inbetween the showers.

The weather has not let up this week but I have managed a few brief forays to stretch the legs inbetween the showers. A week ago the pond on Bookham Common was alive with Toads and a few Frogs. I previously posted a few more images on my FABirding blog.
This week the only inhabitants were Moorhen, Coot and two male Mallard keeping very close company.
Chiffchaffs were announcing their recent arrival everywhere and the repetitive song of a Song Thrush drifted through the woodland on the breeze.
I headed into one of the woods to check on progress. Lots of young green shoots emerging but I guess it will be at least another 3 to 4 weeks before the bells will erupt and turn this into a carpet of blue but there were plenty of wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) dotted about the floor. Its name comes from the latin for 'First Rose' and the five petals represent birth, initiation, consummation, repose and death. 
Heading out of the wood I disturbed a Pheasant who promptly strutted away!
A detour along a path between open fields where there was recent evidence of the art of hedge-laying. The effect of thinning out, cutting and then layering will rejuvenate growth and provide a very effective stock-proof barrier plus, in time, fresh habitat for nesting species.
A domesticated Guineafowl feeding in one of the fields.
A view through the railway bridge where I decided to retrace my steps as another band of of rain clouds were moving in. High over the wood I heard the call of a Common Buzzard and then had a distant view of two individuals as the effortlessly drifted away following the treeline.
A male Chaffinch turned his back on me as it dived into deep cover.
There are hundreds of old Oaks throughout the various woods; many pollared long ago; and in order to give them breathing space vast areas are being thinned out.  Large areas of scrub has also been cleared to rejuvenate the natural grassland that supports a wide range of insect life that provides food for both resident
and the returning migrant bird species, such as the Nightingale. Breeding territories of this evocative songster have fallen over recent years and it is hoped that the current management plan will help to provide better conditions for the future. I always look forward to making early morning visits to listen for the Nightingales arrival and  this year will be no exception.  FAB.


  1. Hi Frank,
    Well done in between the showers ;-) This is a very nice post and I love the chaffinch picture! I did not know you had nightingales! I remember them from Finland.. They used to sing very loud under the windows of my roon and I had to use earplug, cause in summer there is light all the time and they were singing all the time!

  2. That was a nice day out, you must have been mighty wet to take so many photos Frank.

  3. Hi Chris. Fabulous song but I can understand why you might get fed up listening all day and night long..lucky you.

    Bob. Minor showers, but trying to keep the gear dry and be ready for any action wasn't easy. Just glad to get something to post for a change.

  4. Wow, what a day you had! Very nice series of photos.

  5. I have never seen hedge laying before, but it certainly looks interesting. Is there anything much greater than one of those old Oak trees, makes you wonder what it could tell about the years past. That Guinea Fowl seems to be strutting it's stuff. Fun series Frank. Happy Easter~

  6. It is good to get out between the rains. We have had very rainy weather here. This is the second rainiest March on record. The oak tree is just great. I thoroughly enjoyed this post.

  7. Really enjoy your walks Frank.
    This one has so many wonderful aspects. Use to have frogs in the garden but think they've now took up residence in a neighbour's pond. My pond wasn't that big.
    Love the naturally made fence. Good to see traditional craftwork is still put into practice.
    All of your walk very interesting.
    Look forward to more!

  8. Hi Frank
    Some great shots again I really like the hedge laying pics , something we do not see down here as everything is Cornish Drystone walling. Also that gnarled old Oak has a real presence about it. I agree with the weather photo slots are very few and far between.

  9. Great post Frank.
    Can't wait for the Bluebell carpet to appear. Looks like you'll have a good show in that wood.
    Good to see the art of hedge laying is still going strong.

  10. Its a great shame that we don't see more hedge laying Frank.

  11. Mona. Thank you, I tried my best in the drab conditions.

    Steve B. Any more rain and we will all need webbed feet! Wouldn't be the same without the old knarled Oaks...a haven for wildlife.

    Mary. Hedges are far more friendly than posts and barbed wire but far too often the cheaper option is taken these days. The G-fowl was a surprise find! Happy Easter.

    Shirleyanne. I'd love a garden pond but in such a small garden something I like would have to go to make room. I'm with you on the traditional skills...good to see some still being used.

    Monty. I like dry stone walls...another traditional craft and they provide their own style of habitat.

    Keith. A few more weeks and the vistas will change again.

  12. Roy. I totally agree on that one. Far too often it's slaughter with a mower on a tractor!


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