There were clouds of Ringlet butterflies in the wild flower meadow tonight.
Red Kite spotted over the farm by Hattie yesterday at 3.20pm-ish. Last seen here June 29th 2016!
Birds in their own words: the Dawn Chorus
Saturday 27th May 2017
Two very hot nights, woken up by the dawn chorus I ventured outside at 4am! Below is a link to a few moments.
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.
Red Kite spotted over the farm by Rob and Hattie on Sunday evening at about 6-ish
Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Wild Pollinator Event
2nd June 2016
Photo: Gert Corfield 2016
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.
Blog post by Gert Corfield
On Saturday the 15th August the farm hosted a Butterfly walk to look for the many species of Butterflies on the farm. The intrepid explorers set off in the afternoon to see what was on the wing. The previous day saw heavy rain all day and Saturday was a bit cooler than was hoped for but temperatures rose slightly and the wind dropped which made for good conditions. Before the arrival of guests a quick tour of the best areas were explored and despite not finding them the previous two weekends a freshly emerged female Brown Hairstreak was located along the lane feeding sedately on a thistle! We hoped it would hang around for the afternoon and as it turned out she stayed on the same thistle for over two hours giving close views to all. A truly magical (and unusual for the elusive Brown Hairstreak) experience!
We then proceeded to walk the wide field margins sown with wildflower seed mixes to look for other species. The swathes of Knapweed, Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch, Linseed, and other late summer flowers produced 14 other species of Butterfly! The final list was comprised of; Comma Green Veined White Small White Large White Meadow Brown Gatekeeper Speckled Wood Common Blue Brown Argus Small Skipper Essex Skipper Ringlet Small Tortoiseshell Small Copper The Butterflies posed well for the cameras, particularly the many Brown Argus and Common Blue. A few Silver Y Moths were also found and a couple of Roesel’s Bush Crickets – not a common sight! The afternoon was rounded off with several rounds of cake and refreshments. A successful event and testament to the success of the wildlife friendly features on the farm.
We were delighted to be joined leading walks by Caroline Corsie from The Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s Smite Farm and John Tilt, manager of the Grafton Wood nature reserve jointly owned by the Wildlife Trust and Butterfly Conservation. Sarah Corfield was also present representing the Artrix, Bromsgrove’s arts and theatre venue.
Much needed strawberries and cream followed farm walks, while our canvas marquee with hay bales, bubbles and a huge collaborative painting meant the children didn’t want to go home.
Close-up from section of collaborative painting
Blog post by Gert Corfield
On Sunday morning we held a Dawn Chorus walk on the farm to celebrate International Dawn Chorus day which had been rained off the previous week.
Conditions were perfect at 4.30am! The hardy participants set off stopping off at various points on the farm to enjoy the building chorus of song birds.
The first to sing was the Robin by the farmhouse, closely followed by a Skylark in the distance. In the old Orchard we enjoyed the different calls of a Song Thrush which helpfully repeated every call two or three times.
Blackbirds, Dunnocks and Wren sang in profusion with a couple of Tawny Owl calling.
In the hay meadow a Whitethroat sang its bursts of scratchy song from the mature hedges and then a Lesser Whitethroat further along. Time was spent differentiating the two songs with the obvious rattle of the Lesser Whitethroat making it easy. A couple of laughing Green Woodpeckers were preceded by ever growing numbers of Chiffchaff singing their name!We could make out the Blackcaps fruity warble and as the sun rose a brief burst of Willow Warbler song.
Bird song was complemented by good views of Roe Deer and 6 Brown Hare stretching and getting ready for the day. The pair of Raven called a deep croak and Chaffinch & Linnet song were differentiated. A Skylark was closely observed singing high over a field and when it dropped like a stone to the ground we all gave it a round of applause so marvellous was the display.
After a couple of hours we returned to the farmhouse for a welcome hot drink and pastries past a splendid male Yellowhammer who was more interested in a ‘little bit of bread and no cheeeeese’ ! A wonderful morning experiencing one of natures great spectacle.
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.