We visited Wells Farm in Little Milton. This was an organised trip by BBOWT. The reserve is a working farm, managed on a traditional rotation basis. The hedge margins are more than six meters wide, giving plenty of habitat for insects and birds. The fields have a mixture of soils. from chalk to sand and wet clay. Walking the fields, it became obvious as the soil types changed.
We were given tea and coffee in the Little Milton village hall. A wonderful village hall with an integral community run post office, shop and cafe.
The fields had many flowers and insects. The bird life was sparse, but then there was a group of 40 plus people walking around. It would be interesting to spend time there quietly.
BBOWT have the land on a 999-year lease, on the condition it is managed as an environmental farm. The lease was gifted to them by the previous owner. One does wonder how we could survive if all agriculture was performed in this same way…..
Rosemary and I, along with a few others, had a tour of the BBOWT wetlands nature reserve at Gallows Bridge. This is one wetland reserve of many they own on the Upper River Ray. Gallows Bridge has the Tetchwick Brook flowing through it which is a tributary of the Ray, joining the Ray at Three Way Meadows. Tetchwick Brook should be well known to readers of this blog, as the river (stream, ditch) over which we have a tug of war over.
The morning was misty, not ideal for photography. The warden explained the type of management the reserve received, and why. Interestingly we heard how some of the land had been ploughed years ago with a technique called ridge and furrow which causes long ridges to form in the fields which remain today and are now protected. Many of the nesting wetland birds are predated by animals, mink and fox being the main culprits. An effort is made before the breeding season to trap and kill the mink, and reduce the number of foxes in the area. The trap at this time of year contained a mud pad which was used to estimate the number of river mammals living in the area. Paw prints of Mink and Otter could be seen.
BBOWT had been creating a number of ponds and scrapes to keep water on the site over the summer season, providing feeding areas for Snipe, Lapwing and Curlew . Grass has to be managed in several ways allowing for short and long grass to suit different species of bird. The reserve is also a habitat for Short Eared Owls, Barn Owls, Hobby and Kingfishers. After the tour we stayed in the hides for a while in the hope of seeing the Kingfisher. Alas we didn’t, just saw a few LBJs.
A three-day holiday, but what horrible weather. Rained all day on Saturday, Rosemary went to visit her parents, I did Tescos and installed a wireless link at the neighbours so they could access the internet through our broadband. The took us our for a meal at the Pheasant in Brill.
Ah Saturday, up at 3:45 to meet up with some other lunatics at Finemere wood to hear the dawn chorus. I have never heard so much noise from a group of people trying to keep quiet. People should not wear all those expensive Gortex jackets. Hey a quite fleece was all that was needed on this rainless warm early morning. We heard some birds, (too numerous for me to name) and then had a walk around in the light to see the bluebells. Finished off with a bacon roll and then back to the house by 8.00 for the rest of the day. This was organised by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. Finemere wood is about two miles from us. Though we have never walked through it, we have often visited the pond near by.
A little git of gardening in the afternoon while the weather was fine.
Sunday started off wet and miserable, so a day in front of the PC I think. Maybe a quick visit to the P&A in the evening to sort out the Tug of War.