Branslands Wood, near Bletchingley, Surrey ... 10th May 2010

My wife and I spent the late morning and early afternoon at this quiet National Trust woodland. In past years we have seen breeding Spotted Flycatchers at this site, but failed to find them last year and it looks as though they are absent again so far this year.

In fact, birds were noticeable by their absence with only Chiffchaff, about ten of them, a male Pheasant and three Common Buzzards, over the fields behind the wood, of note, so this entry on the blog is more like a ramble through the woods!

To make up for the lack of birds, the bluebells are putting on a good show. There were also good numbers of Yellow Archangel, swathes of Stitchwort and plenty of Wood Surge throughout the wood.

The pond near the car park has been de-silted and some of the trees surrounding the pond have been cleared, presumably to allow more light in, but it has changed the atmosphere of that area.

Branslands Wood has always felt to me that it should hold Nightingales and for the past few years I have visited in spring, both early morning and evening, in the hope of hearing one singing. So far, I have been unsuccessful in finding any at this site, but the scrubby understorey looks just right for them.

There were plenty of butterflies on the wing with Comma, Small White, Green-veined Whites, including the mating pair in the photo below, Speckled Woods and Orange-tips in abundance.

Despite the lack of birds, a walk around this small woodland is always a pleas

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