My rather muddy job of washing some of the soil samples I'd collected over the winter (to look at the amount of seed our wild bird cover has produced), was brightened up last week by some great views of a Red Kite drifting north over the farm. After a quick dash to get the "bins" from the office, it was noted that the bird had a white wing tag on the left wing and red or orange tag on the right wing, so undoubtedly a bird from the Rockingham Forest introduction project. One of my favourite birds in the world, and great to see over here in eastern England.

The last whole farm winter bird count was carried out in the week with c1300 individual birds of 39 species recorded on the farm including over 100 each of Linnet, Chaffinch and Starling and 50+ of Yellowhammer and Skylark as well as an impressive 30+ reed buntings. A few Fieldfare and Redwing were still around and a Chiffchaff was noted feeding near one of the farm ponds. Wintering waders sush as Snipe and Woodcock were absent and are probably heading back to their breeding grounds.

In the next couple of weeks, the summer monitoring season starts for both birds and butterflies. Its always an exciting time of year as its possible for passage birds to turn up and it will be interesting to see how the harsh winter weather has affected the number of birds holding territory on Hope Farm.