Sunrise in late April and May is a positively noisy affair on the commons. The birdsong is deafening. Summer visitors, such as the whitethroat and warbler, combine with over-wintering wrens, thrushes, robins and blackbirds to produce a truly memorable dawn chorus.
Bookham Commons is one of a few remaining places to see the rare hawfinch in Surrey. December to March is the best time to catch a glimpse of this shy bird feeding on sloes behind the railway station, on Central Plain.
If you can get close enough, you’ll see they've a large, tremendously powerful beak for cracking open their favourite foods - hornbeam seeds, sloe and cherry stones.
On Hollows Path to the north of Isle of Wight Pond is the only heronry on open access land in Surrey. All the others are in private woodland or on inaccessible islands.
There are currently 15 occupied nests. Listen for the harsh, squawking calls of parents and young. See the herons in the treetops and find remnants of what they’ve been eating on the ground underneath. Crayfish claws, fish scales and frogs' legs give a clue to what’s on their menu.
On the ponds
Next to the Upper Eastern Pond is a bird hide to observe the more cautious wild ducks such as teal, shoveler, tufted duck and dabchick, otherwise known as the little grebe.