Posts Tagged ‘downs’

Following two successful visits in the spring netting for Skylarks we where again back on the farm on Sunday. Carl, Marie & Jason joined me on Sunday morning for our first attempt of the autumn.

After a summer crop of linseed; Michael, the farmer has now planted a crop of winter barley, he sowed without ploughing in the residue stubble left from the linseed harvest, this will benefit the birds greatly throughout the winter, the new crop will also offer protection from the elements when the weather turns wintery. Michael has kindly allowed us to net on the planted field, we are able to use the tractor lines to move along the field and with careful foot placement maneuver between the crop lines.

Carefully setting up!

Carefully setting up!

The weather wasn’t too bad first thing; a light chilly northerly breeze prevailed with 90% cloud cover, this did deteriorate around 09:30 when a band of moist weather rolled over.

The catching success of the spring was not repeated with a single Meadow pipit the only bird of the session. Although we saw c80 Skylarks; with a few pairs displaying typical behaviour of ‘chasing’, none landed in the nets. A small flock of Meadow pipit were also observed.

We set down at 11:00.

We’ll return in a few weeks time.

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on Tuesday.

Having had limited walks on the farm for a couple of months because of the rain I was eager to get out today and try to catch some wildlife photographs even though the weather was far from perfect with overcast skies and the threat of rain hanging in the air. I decided to head straight for the farm to see if there was anything of interest around the farm buildings. I sat down at the foot of a grain silo and immediately spotted a few Swallows flitting in and around the barns feeding on the insects, their precision flying no match for the prey,  a Kestrel was hovering over head scoping the fields for a meal and I noticed a  pair of Grey Wagtails bobbing close by, I watched the wagtails for a while and saw them fly up to a shutter opening mechanism and disappear inside.

I didn’t want to hang about for too long once I realised they had a nest so decided to head off into the fields. Just as I was leaving the farmyard the gamekeeper came into the yard, I had a quick chat and he informed me that he’d seen a few Lapwing in one of the fields, this was great news as I’d seen a Lapwing weeks ago but hadn’t seen it since.

It took 20 mins to get to the field and as I arrived it started to rain but I wasn’t deterred as in the field I spotted 8 Lapwing   There was a wood on one side of the field so I was able to work my way into a position a little closer than I could have out in the open.  They were still quite away of but I did get a couple of shots.

Lapwing on the wing!


After spending around 90 minutes with the Lapwing (in the pouring rain) I decided to head for home. On the way just as I was just climbing over the gate  I saw a Blue tit fly out from the fence post.

Blue tit nest

Blue tit with grub

Blue tit with grub

Blue tit with grub

Obviously I had to stay and get some shots, I had a quick look into the nest and saw 8 healthy chicks that I estimated to be 8-10 days old.

I did eventually get home after spending 5 enjoyable hours roaming the farm.

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…get to ring any birds on Saturday,  when we arrived on the Common at 0700hrs the wind was far too strong for mist nets so it was decided to go and recce another part of the Common for future sessions. We found some good locations but didn’t see many birds about!

I was home by 093o hrs so decided to go out over the farm for a walk and survey, although the sun was out and it was rather pleasant the wind also strong here and I think this contributed to a low bird count. I did see  a lone Fieldfare the first one I’ve seen on the farm this autumn.

  1. Woopi (Wood Pigeon) x c200
  2. Goldf (Goldfinch) x 12
  3. Lotti (Long Tailed Tit) x 10
  4. Rook x c250
  5. Magpi (Magpie) x 6
  6. Chaff (Chaffinch) x 2
  7. Grswo (Great Spotted Woodpecker) x 2
  8. Buzza (Buzzard) x 2
  9. Kestr (Kestrel) x 1
  10. Bluti (Blue Tit) x 3
  11. Greti (Great Tit) x 1
  12. Blabi (Blackbird) x 1
  13. Field (Fieldfare) x 1
  14. Pheas (Pheasant) x 4
  15. Skyla (Skylark) x c60
  16. Starl (Starling) c 7
  17. Nutha (Nuthatch) x 2
  18. Jay x 1
  19. Robin x 2



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…so far, a Little Owl nestling perched just above the nest hole. I’ve spent a total of 14 hours trying to get a shot of the Little Owl adults over the past few weeks and this evening I went one better and got the nestling. I also saw the adult fly by with a vole grasped tightly in its talons on its way to feed its young. I did get a couple of shots off but they turned out blurred!

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…the Farm for 3 weeks, the crops are growing  slowly due to lack of rain but they are growing! It’s really nice to see all the trees in full leaf and green.

Plenty of young juvenile birds flying around at the moment including Blackbird, Blue tits and Song Thrush. Adults spotted included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Little Owl, Jay, Whitethroat and Skylarks.

Also spotted the Blue tit family that recently fledged box 1 in the garden, in the garden!

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…photographs to sort through from the long Easter weekend, quite a mixed bag, the first 3 photographs are  of the Wisteria in the garden at home.

The next 3 photographs are of a Chiffchaff from a walk over on Epsom Downs on Saturday, next a Treecreeper with a bug in its beak and a nice shot of a Robin captured while walking along the river Mole on Sunday and the final photograph is a Whitethroat captured tonight over on Epsom Downs.

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…for a survey this evening and what a beautiful evening it was too, sunny, warm, farmer working the land, rabbits feeding on the margins, plenty of bird action and even caught a fleeting glimps of a Roe deer…glorious evening in the English countryside!

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