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!
Think your last comment needs more answers as it raises many questions 1)have you now any fields of set aside 2)the small areas of beetle banks and margins are exactly which schemes are getting all farmers into 3)the majority of the farm is managed intensively with your partner who obviously needs to get good yields for his income and obviosly having a partner means he has a significant input 4)do you if you want any special things done on the farm compensate him in any way shape or form 5)do you agree that perhaps the reason he seems to get a particularly good deal financialy is to farm as the RSPB would like him to.Look forward to the answers.
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