Autumn into Winter

Blog post by Jan  
The corn has been harvested and left the farm.  The new crops are planted, a wheat, bean and fallow rotation.  The flower margins have made hay and are looking smart!  Wild bird seed mix is standing well and will feed flocks of up to a hundred goldfinches and the other hungry birds overwinter.  Hedge berries and fallows will carry lifesaving food.  Small mammals will shelter in the wide hedge bottoms and brown hairstreak eggs mature on the blackthorn.  
Butterfly Conservation  will help us to work out a hedge cutting plan to protect our hairstreak colony.  
We will clear the footpaths and work in the fields, finding the balance between management and preservation.  The cows will winter in the barn, the sheep will graze safely and I will take a moment to stand in the winter silence by the ice covered wetland.

Archaeology and Wildlife Event

August 2017

A lovely walk  led by archaeologist Emily Hathaway and the Wild Hollowfields team, discovering the archaeological secrets that lie beneath our feet. As well as visiting some of the historic features of the farm, Emily, with kind permission from our neighbours, led us around the Scheduled Ancient Monument next door.   On the wildlife side, children were completely engrossed when dissecting one of the farm’s barn owl pellets with Tony Barnby!

Wild About Words!

August 19th 2017

We were thrilled to have poet James Carter here at the farm for his madcap sessions. James performed some wild guitar music as well as a bunch of poems from his collections. Published by Macmillan, Bloomsbury and Walker Books, James is a well established poet and we love his performances! Brilliantly entertained, adults and children had a wonderful time.

       

Mindfulness and frog watching.

Hattie, six years old and I have been lucky enough to spend an afternoon with a large gathering of frogs in the grips on the farm. These prehistoric looking creatures popped above the water regularly making a ‘beep, beep’ sound which we guess translates to ‘ribbet’. We were transfixed, rooted to the spot and so fascinating was it to watch, that no other thoughts entered our heads….. almost meditation.

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Butterfly Fest

Blog post by Gert Corfield
In July and August the farm hosted two Butterfly walks with added moths!
On both days a moth trap was set in the orchard with a sample of moths collected and kept cool for the event. The moths were then shown to attendees before being released safe and sound back into the orchard. This added an extra dimension to the day and demonstrated the diversity of the wildlife present on the farm.
The day in July threatened rain a few days before but turned out dry, although cool and windy. Not ideal for looking for Butterflies, but some nice species were found including Marbled Whites and Large, Small and Essex Skippers plus plenty of Meadow Brown and Ringlet! The moths caught the night before where over 150 in number with some interesting species which were shown to all and included Early Thorn, Beautiful hook-tip, Yellow Tail and Large Emerald. A successful day despite the conditions.
In August the day was more promising with warm sun and still conditions. As it turned out it was almost too warm and ironically the conditions the night before were less than ideal with clear and cool temperatures. The moth catch was much lower but again some interesting species were collected – several Drinker moths, a few Magpie and the cumbersomely named Lesser Broad-bordered yellow Underwing!
The Butterflies showed much better. Unfortunately the male Brown Hairstreak found an hour before the event did not re appear – still early in the season for this rare Butterfly. However 19 other species were found which was superb! Several Painted Ladies feeding on Knapweed, the 3 Skippers, a second brood bright yellow Brimstone and Marbled Whites were highlights. Again another satisfyingly enjoyable day. To top it off, one of the party managed to photograph a Spotted Flycatcher which must have been intrigued by the merry band of butterfly chasers! (With thanks to Nigel Hallett for use of photo).
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Brimstone (with bee!)             Photo: Gert Corfield
IMG_0752  Spotted Flycatcher, photo Nigel Hallett
One of the young members of the party recorded a video blog of the day, the link to which is below – excellent work!
Finally a total of £250 was raised over both events for Butterfly Conservation. Please consider joining here;
The full list of Butterflies encountered was;
Large White
Small White
Green veined White
Marbled White
Common Blue
Holly Blue
Meadow Brown
Ringlet
Gatekeeper
Large Skipper
Small Skipper
Essex Skipper
Painted Lady
Brimstone
Red Admiral
Peacock
Speckled Wood
Comma
Small Tortoiseshell
Brown Hairstreak
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Photo  Clive Turner
The list of moths shown over the two days were;
9th July
Early Thorn
Large Emerald
Willow Beauty
Large Yellow Underwing
Poplar Grey
Small Magpie
Marbled Orchard Tortrix
Barred Straw
Dark Arches
Bramble Shoot Moth
Lackey
Barred Yellow
Yellow Tail
Beautiful hook-tip
Marbled Minor
Common Footman
Smoky Wainscot
Light Arches
Satin Wave
Riband Wave
6th August
Drinker
Magpie
Smoky Wainscot
Willow Beauty
Straw Underwing
Dark Arches
Common Rustic
Large Yellow Underwing
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Straw Dot
Dingy Footman
Yellow Tail
Small Dotted Buff
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Large Emerald ( held by Hattie! ),  photo : Gert Corfield
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Straw Underwing: photo Gert Corfield

Red Kite

Red Kite spotted over the farm by Rob and Hattie on Sunday evening at about 6-ish

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Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Wild Pollinator Event

2nd June 2016

We were delighted to host an evening as part of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust Wild Pollinator Project which focusses on increasing populations of native wild pollinators in areas of Worcestershire farmland. The evening was headed by Caroline Corsie, the Trust’s farm manager and David Dench, Head of Conservation for the Trust. David set moth traps at the farm resulting in recording twenty six species including the Poplar Hawk-moth and the Eyed Hawk-moth. It’s great  to be part of such an innovative project!
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 Photo: Gert Corfield 2016

Green hay strewing project pays off

It’s been fantastic to see the huge numbers of cowslips in our flower meadow this year! These have all grown thanks to the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust generously allowing us to take green hay for strewing from their nationally important SSSI site Eades Meadow a number of years ago.  This involved a precise operation with machines and volunteers, where the green hay had to be baled, transported and strewn on our wildflower meadow within two hours. Otherwise, the hay not dried in the traditional way would have heated up making the wildflower seeds not viable. Our flower meadow was created years ago with seeds from Eades, so it was a fantastic opportunity to add to this work.

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