Updated: Aug 23, 2018
21st of August 2018
At the start of August, I began my journey here at Eastbrook Farm and decided to use my initial few days getting my head around the site. After an induction in the office on Day 1, Tim Finney took me out on my Day 2 to show me the farm, meet some key individuals and point out any major areas of interest. I'd spent some time around the farm previously but it was at this point that the scale of the area really started to settle in - such a lot to potentially work with!
Over the next few days, I spent time exploring the site and to my delight started to encounter some of the wealth of wildlife on the farm. The stunning flower meadows, fruit-laden hedgerows, flowing stream and quiet pond (despite this harsh summer) provide a wealth of shelter, food sources and habitats for all kinds of creatures. Within my first few weeks I have already seen;
- Barn Owls
- Deer (Roe and Muntjac)
- Kestrel, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk and Red Kites
- A massive range of butterflies, dragonflies and cranefly
- Countless bird species including some highlights of Goldcrests and long-tailed tits (two of my favourites)
- Frogs and toads down by the pond
- Heron and waterfowl on the village pond which is teeming with stickleback
I've yet to see the Little Owls, there's been some construction activity near their previous nesting site which I fear may have disturbed them but I've been told that Clive, the livestock manager on the farm, has spotted them around. I've also heard a Tawny Owl on the lower farm which could be another opportunity.
ProHides was set up on the farm a few years ago by Elliott Neep - a friend of the farm and an accomplished photographer. Over the years the hides were constructed and areas of the farm used for photography sessions. At the end of 2017, Elliott left the project to pursue other activities and the hides have been left dormant since then - there have been changes around the farm since then and of course, as nature does, the hides have become quite overgrown and in need of some attention - that's where I come in. Elliott was also kind enough to come in and talk to me about the previous ventures of ProHides and give me some really solid foundations to start the project rolling again - thanks Elliott!
I've also had visits from my friends Graham and Janice, from Metabugs, and my friend and old colleague Phil Gould, founder of Wildlife Art Experiences. We spent the day going around the farm looking at the options. Some great ideas from these meetings and I hope to be working with both companies in the future!
Now I've got my head around it all and got a bit of a plan in place I can start to develop the project - and also start capturing some images!
Over the next few weeks, I will be working closely with the farm to review the current locations of the hides and look at the options. Without a doubt, we will need to relocate one or two of them as the areas they are in have changed over the year and there are some more apparent opportunities presented around the farm. Watch this space for more updates.