Love is certainly in the air at the moment and as the breeding season gets underway, the local chaps have donned their best bib and tucker and are singing proudly for the ladies!
We are delighted to see at least four pairs of Lapwings out on the farm, distinguishable by their characteristic pee-wit call, making a lot of noise as the males vie for their territories. Lapwing populations have been in decline in recent years, but there are now estimated to be about 200,000 pairs in the British Isles. It’s great that they are breeding with us. Lapwings tend to have only 1 brood per year – usually between April and June. We are keeping our eyes peeled for the eggs – but they are very good at distracting people away from their nesting sites – we might be lucky!
Last month we think we caught sight of a Long Eared Owl which flew out of a large hawthorn bush in early evening. We did have a bit of a husband-wife ‘discussion’ about whether it was, in fact, a short eared owl. It can be difficult to tell – but our owl seemed to have very orange/red eyes, and we thought we could see long ear tufts -which are not, in fact, ears! Irrespective of whether it was short-eared or long-eared – it looked fabulous in the dusk.
During the winter we had a family of about 8 Long-tailed Tits which zoomed around the farmyard and garden visiting the peanut feeders. Although Long-tailed tits prefer to feed on insects such as caterpillars, flies and spiders, more and more they seem to visit the peanuts. However the family have now gone their separate ways to build their nests and rear their young. It takes both parents about 3 weeks to build intricate expandable nests –which tend to be really well hidden to protect them from predators.
We were very pleased to pass our annual ACCS (Assured Combinable Crops Scheme) inspection this month- an independent whole farm assurance scheme which requires us to produce, handle and store our combinable crops (cereals, oilseeds and protein crops) to the very highest standard. This quality, we hope, is reflected in the home produced products we sell to our customers.
Richard has been preparing the ground ready to drill some linseed – hopefully this weekend if the weather stays fair.
Special Offer for the Breeding Season
It is now accepted practice to feed garden birds throughout the year. Spring can often be a time of real need for supplementary feeding – particularly in April and May, when nights may still be cold and the birds require more energy to defend their territories, and to lay and incubate eggs. During these spring months there may be a shortage of seeds, insects and earthworms around, particularly if the weather turns inclement. It is important not to offer foods that may potentially choke young chicks. All our seed mixes are suitable for spring feeding, but perhaps the best to offer is our High Energy Blend – which will give a real energy boost at this time of year.