At Hope Farm we count birds in every month of the year. The breeding numbers are key, but the winter figures are interesting and tell us something about the feeding conditions for those hardy species that stay with us through the winter.
A few days ago the December count was done at Hope Farm by a gang of counters.
In December 2000, soon after we acquired Hope Farm, the count, of 22 species, and including wood pigeons, was of 203 birds.
This week, there were 2075 birds of 44 species - quite an increase. Even if you exclude wood pigeons (c600), pheasants and rooks (c150) there were over 1400 birds on the farmland. That's actually a 10-fold increase in a 10-year period.
Species of note include 199 yellowhammer, 172 skylark, 61 linnet, 27 bullfinch, 137 redwing, 37 grey partridge, 1 corn bunting, jack snipe and waxwing.
Bullfinch and grey partridge counts are a record for any winter count.
Jack snipe and waxwing (grrrr!) are new species for the farm.
Hope not Hype!
2) except most farmers are not doing beetle banks or nectar-rich margins although these are options in the schemes. That's part of the problem as I have pointed out in this blog many times. And it isn't a criticism of farmers - but it is a criticism of the schemes. Let's hope that defra changes things quickly.
3) yes, that's right
4) yes, if we want to do anything that is outside of the normal then our contract farmer gets paid for doing them
5) not sure I understand the question, but basically our contract farmer probably sees us as being an interesting but slightly awkward diversion from the rest of his business! But I'm guessing.
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