Blog post by Gert Corfield
A couple of Winter bird surveys on the farm produced two new additions to the ever growing bird list! The stream running through the farm is attracting overwintering Teal. First a pair and then five seen flying out of one of the stiller pools. These lovely dabbling Ducks over winter in good numbers in the South and West of the UK and some come from as far as the baltic and Siberia. It has certainly felt very Siberian with sub zero temperatures during the early morning surveys!
Another wonderful visitor was a male Merlin, seen on consecutive weekends pursuing the many Linnets feeding on the winter bird crop and a large flock of over wintering Meadow Pipits. It’s our smallest bird of prey – a bit like a pocket sized Peregrine! It was seen carrying what was probably a Meadow Pipit and on another occasion flying low with rapid wing beats towards another flock of Finches like a slaty blue rocket.These lovely little birds of prey increase in numbers in winter boosted by birds coming from Iceland to our warmer climate as well as from uplands in the UK to spend winter in the lowlands. So thanks to these far flung visitors the farm bird list now stands at 82 not least thanks to the environmental measures on the farm.
Other birds of note have been up to 4 Snipe, 3 Woodcock, a Peregrine and flocks of 15 to 20 Skylark in the winter stubble. Brown Hare have been showing in ones & twos and the Roe Deer have been very visible. The latter are showing their antlers (which start growing in December) still with their fury covering ( velvet ) in readiness for the spring.