With the weather being set fair for a low wind and dry, Jonny and I headed for Brown’s Farm. It was a question of killing two birds with one stone: I hadn’t been able to do my early breeding bird survey for the site yet this year. We set the nets and I left Jonny to manage them whilst I carried out the BBS.
Last year, when the new tenant took over, one of the first tasks he took on was to cut the hedges back quite severely. One year later on and they seem to be really bearing fruit. As I walked my survey route, I was astonished at how many pairs of Yellowhammers there were flying up from the hedge as I passed. The Skylarks are as abundant as ever and, as usual, there was a Cuckoo calling from the trees around the farm.
Jonny had the benefit of the majority of the ringing catch, whilst I was surveying. We only caught 16 birds but the winter flocks have broken up and, now we are into the breeding season, no lures were used, so we weren’t expecting huge numbers. The list was: Blue Tit 1; Great Tit 1; Dunnock 1; Blackbird 1; Whitethroat 3; Linnet 3; Yellowhammer 5(1). Totals: 15 birds ringed from 7 species and one retrap.
All birds were well into their breeding condition, except for the Yellowhammers. They breed later than most of the other farmland species but usually produce two broods and, in a good year, three.