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Posts Tagged ‘langley bottom farm’

Our netting attempts are being badly affected by the winds this month, with many planned sessions having to be cancelled at the last minute. We seem to be in a bit of a cycle at the moment with the wind speed rising at the weekends.

March 7th

A return visit to Fifield and Touchen End with Carl & Paul, adding 2 Kestrel boxes, 1 Little owl box, 1 Barn owl box and a replacement Tawny owl box for one that had been fitted in 2013 and disintegrated in 2014 (not one of ours I might add!). A pleasant dry day with plenty of sunshine. A visit to our ‘local’ in the area for a spot of food and a pint.

March 14th/15th 

Planned session on Chobham Common cancelled.

March 21st/22nd

Planned weekend session on Chobham Common cancelled but Monday 23rd did show a little more promise with wind speeds down to 8mph with 11mph gusts, just within our margins. I had a days leave booked and with a few ringers eager to get out managed to persuade 4 of them to join me.

We met at 0615 hrs with a plan to catch Meadow pipits if they were about; Dartford Warbler, quite a few territories have been identified so far this year, and Stonechat which also seem to be on the Common in fairly good numbers. We set up our nets for the Meadow pipits and identified a couple of areas for the Dartford’s, a male and female Stonechat were also spotted along with a Whinchat so a net was deployed for them too.

It stayed calm for a while but a slight breeze was detected about 0930 hrs gradually building over the next hour or so, by 1030 hrs the nets were looking obvious. To say it was a slow morning would be rather understating it, we managed to catch just one bird, a male Reed bunting.

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Sunday 12th.

Over to my patch with our first session of the autumn on Langley Bottom Farm. I’ve already seen plenty of skylark on the fields so far this autumn which is encouraging.  Michael, the farmer,  will be leaving Tadworth Meadows in stubble for the winter which will leave more food available which in turn will help with survival rates.

It’s still early autumn and there’s plenty of food on the fields so the Skylark are still widely distributed, they are quite hard to catch as it is so we only deployed a couple of lines on net and crossed our fingers. After an hour or so it was becoming quite apparent that our luck was not in. We did catch a single male (sexed on wing length of 115) at 0730 but that proved to be our only bird of the session. We set down at 1000.

Another visit is planned for next month.

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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!

Lapwing

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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