Birds

Summer – Breeding season

The 2010 bird analysis was completed a weeks ago and the results have exceeded expectations. Our farmland bird index now stands 201% higher than in 2000 with turtle dove and reed buntings at record numbers. The index is a collective population trend using the same 19 species as the national farmland bird indicator. Find out more about the farmland bird index.

Reed bunting increases were particularly impressive rising from 9 pairs in 2009 to 17 pairs in 2010. Yellowhammer (36 pairs), skylark (41) and linnet (30) were each down slightly from last year’s record but in context each species has at least doubled over ten years. Corn Buntings remain our biggest challenge as they continue to ignore the farm despite our best efforts. Proof we still don’t have all the answers. We will keep our fingers crossed for next year. You can see a picture of one of the turtle doves we caught on the farm in the October blog. 

Winter Counts.

Monthly whole farm bird counts have taken place at Hope Farm each winter between November and March since 2000/2001 involving a small team of up to five surveyors covering the whole farm. By using the same methodology, we are able to compare how our management influences bird numbers. The November count recorded 300 yellowhammer, 60 linnets, 80 reed bunting and perhaps most importantly 4 corn bunting feeding on wild bird cover and fallow trial plots. There still remains several small covey of grey partridge. It will be interesting to see if this promising start continues throughout the winter and beats last year's figures.

Harvest

The weather is never right as far as the farming is concerned!. Last summer it was too dry hence our yields were down now its too wet delaying grass weed control in the winter wheat. Harvest was completed on 31 August with wheat yields down by 12% from last year. The only good news was the price continued to rise, thanks to worldwide supply failing to keep up with demand. The oilseed rape was broadcast a few hours before harvest whilst the winter wheat was sown mid-September.

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