Monday, 19 May 2014

Barny's Back!

I have spent most of the last two days grappling with electric fence wire, made from a substance of which the sole function is to tie itself in unfathomable knots. It has been absolutely glorious weather, which is not really what was needed when spending two days working right out in the open. Having said that, the bottom of my land is a very peaceful place to relax... until that blasted fence wire twists itself into yet another impossible knot. At least I've got an instant tan, though that's not really the done thing these days.

The bottom of my land is a place of long, undisturbed grassland surrounded by the young trees I have planted, which are finally starting to look like they may one day actually become big, grown-up trees. At least one pair of skylarks seem to be nesting down there, constantly serenading me from somewhere up in the blue sky. A Meadow Pipit, too, made frequent visits, its mouth full of grubs for its young, and a female Reed Bunting broke cover a couple of times.

But best bird news of all is that I have had daily Barn Owl sightings for five consecutive days having virtually not seen one for well over a year. Hunting during the day is a sure sign that it has young to feed. After a population crash over the last couple of years, it will be brilliant for the barn owl to again be part of our fenland landscape.
The Little Owls, I presume, have young too. They are very active during the day flying between the old Ash trees and even perching out sometimes. They too seem to be faring well. I have seen four in this area within the last week. The pair of Yellow Wagtails continue to add a splash of colour to the pig enclosure and finally I have heard a cuckoo this year. In fact I saw two fly acoss the neighbouring field being chased by a blackbird.
Yellow Wagtail

Today my job is to plant 66m of bird-friendly, intruder unfriendly hedge. I wouldn't normally be planting bare root trees at this time of year since they would have long come out of their winter dormancy. However, those folks at Ashridge Nurseries have had them in cold storage and are selling them off half price.
The bird-friendly hedge consists of the following native species: Hawthorn, Wild Cherry Plum, Wild Privet, Hazel, Wild Damson, Guelder Rose, Blackthorn, Dog Rose and Field Maple. I've ordered extra hawthorn slips just to make sure it becomes impenetrable and I shall be using it to fill any gaps in our boundary with the road. Any left will be planted as a windbreak.
Who knows, one day Barny may well be spotted hunting along my new hedgerow.

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