Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Visiting Birder Finds New Bird For Farm List

Sunday dawned foggy. Really foggy.

We drove the sheep to the abattoir, an operation which we now have down to a tee. The secret is to get there for about quarter to eight (they are open for taking in livestock between eight and nine). Straight in, straight out. No pressure reversing the trailer in front of others. No waiting impatiently while others try to reverse their trailers!

We were back on the farm by just after eight. Today we were having visitors, a birder friend and his wife. Not many of my birder friends have been to the farm. If they're passing this way, it's normally because they're off birdwatching. But when birders do visit, it normally coincides with a good find on the farm. And often as not it's not me who finds the bird!

As we wandered down the land, Stuart was asking me about the birds we get on the farm. "Corn Buntings?" he asked. "Not here I replied. About a mile over there though," I said pointing into the gloomy distance.

You can guess what's coming, can't you. Within a couple of minutes we heard the call of a yellowhammer - not common on the farm in the winter. A small group of buntings were flitting along the line of young trees down by the far dyke. There was clearly a pair of reed buntings, one or two yellowhammers and a fifth bird, chunkier. Without optics, I was even ready to call it a redwing. We needed the birds to call again and, as they took off across the field, they duly did. Stuart called it. Corn Bunting! You couldn't make it up.

My first farm tick since two young gannets passed through on 11th October 2013.

Number 107 for the farm.

Anyway, I think my visitors enjoyed their visit. It's nice when someone visits who really gets what we are doing here. We certainly enjoyed the company

And once our visitors left I was straight back down to the bottom of the field, but all I could find were skylarks and meadow pipits. The fog had come down again - it was quite dramatic rising up from the fields and rolling across the landscape. I drifted in and out of gloom.

The trees I planted a few years back are finally starting to have an impact.

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