Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Going Organic

All pics taken today apart from the Wheatear
Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Barn Owl
Wheatear - similar to the one seen today
Willow Warbler (c) 2010 Phil Hargreaves
Record shot of Whitethroat
Record shot of Heron nest with 4 young
Small Tortoiseshell on Dandelion
Today we made our first ever visit to Carr House Farm at Foston-on-the-Wolds. It isn’t normally open to the public on Tuesdays, so prior admission was sought & generously granted by genial hosts Caroline & Tim Sellars. The farm has been organic for at least the last decade and consequently has a richer diversity of wildlife per acre than most of the insecticide-sprayed East Riding.
The morning began well with 2 Stock Doves on the approach road, a Song Thrush singing loudly from the farmerhouse’s garden, and Swallows twittering around the farmyard. The nature walk began with a mass of House Sparrows & a Whitethroat at the end of the 1st paddock, and we went on to hear another 3 of the latter around the nature walk. Along the bank of the stream we had a Barn Owl, several Mallard, a Reed Bunting and a handful of Linnets. A possible Brown Trout was spotted in the crystal clear stream, and a ‘plop’ may have indicated the presence of a Water Vole, but it wasn’t seen. 2 Red-legged Partridge were flushed as we approached the woodland; whilst in there we heard and saw Willow Warblers & Blackcaps (both male & female).
In the afternoon 2 buzzards passed over the woodland, which also rang to the cacophony of Rooks cawing & the ticking sounds of young Heron. We rounded a corner & immediately saw Herons flying around & in the afternoon spotted 4 young herons on one nest, which is higher than the average. We retreated as soon as we saw the herons, to ensure they didn’t take alarm at our presence. A bare field contained c.120 Linnet, which is a high figure for this time in the year. In this same location Steve spotted a Wheatear, which was the most surprising bird, if not completely unexpected for the time of year – as it would be passing through on migration. Other unexpected birds were a pair of Gadwall, which sprang vertically out of a ditch, and 4 Tufted Duck in a drain.
A male Yellowhammer performed well for both sessions; whilst Claude discovered another 3 males in the same Elder bush on the extreme west of our route round the farm. Other birds included: Tree Sparrows, Mallard, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Moorhen; whilst butterflies included several Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Green Veined Whites with a single Orange-Tip. Mammals were represented by Brown Hares & 3 Roe Deer.
Caroline provided soup, quiche and freshly-baked bread from her Side-Oven for lunch for both sessions. You can read more about the delicious organic produce from the Side-Oven at: http://www.sideoven.com/ This new venue proved very popular with all of today’s participants.

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