After our wild bird seed crop was over-run last year by all sorts of undesirable species, we had a re-think this year and put in a cereal crop instead of the normal broad-leaved crop, thus making it a lot easier for us to deal with the plague of broad-leaved weeds. The cereal crop includes millet, quinoa, triticale, wheat and barley (we did add some extra sunflowers, but these didn't come up) and it's worked really well. It's laden with loads of small seeds and excitingly has lured in a small flock of tree sparrows, the first seen on the reserve for a few years. The crop is just on the otherside of the track to the car park, so is easily viewable. The sparrows tend to be lurking in the hedge that surrounds the plot, preferring the section where it meets The Fleet (the big water-filled ditch) and darting in and out of the hedge into the cereals. Have a look next time you're on site. The seed mix we used is called the bunting mix, so perhaps unsurprisingly reed buntings and yellowhammers are making good use of the crop too.

Tree sparrow - Stuart Carlton (Twitter @StuartCarlton48)

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