It has been another busy few weeks here at the farm but we’ve been making some really great progress. The aim has been to get a couple of hides ready and providing supplementary food sources as we go into winter for the local birds and mammals.
I’ve had some help along the way over the last few weeks as well so a massive thank you to Clive, Paul, Corrine and Bradley and who have all helped out massively with various tasks!
We’ve also had some very encouraging meetings with various professionals, manufacturers and interested parties about activities to take place in 2019 – I can’t reveal much at this stage but certainly watch this space!
All being well we are aiming to have a few hides opening within the next few weeks ready for the winter season;
The Downs Hide:
This hide is located on one of the far boundaries of the farm. A secluded, quiet location surrounded by farming land and with no roads nearby make this the perfect location to see some of our more secretive animals.
The hide itself is a large insulated three person hide with plenty of space – even enough room to setup two camp beds if you’re feeling brave enough to stay out the whole night. Comfortable desk style chairs and padded flooring mean you can sit and move around in comfort without disturbing the wildlife. As well as the hide as exterior LED flood lighting, interior LED lighting, solar powered battery array and two power outlets for powering the flood lights or charging devices.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been getting the hide ready for use and began supplementary feeding with a mix of seeds, nuts and meat to get an idea of what’s visiting. The great news is that there’s a lot of wildlife around!
To date the following species have been recorded / sighted at this location;
Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Pheasant, Partridge, Carrion Crow, Jay, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Starling, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Goldfinch and Robin
There are a few finishing touches to complete on the setup and I have Helen Beech helping me to do some observations in the hide but all being well this hide will be opening in the very near future for daytime and evening bookings.
The other hide we are hoping to open in the coming weeks is a woodland based hide, located in a beautiful clearing in an old oak woodland this hide will give a great opportunity to get up close to some of the best wildlife Britain has to offer. This hide had to be relocated from another area of the farm and it was a tense moment as it was put into position by Clive’s incredible driving of the farm JCB - he then went on to move a fantastic fallen oak branch outside the front of the hide which looks spectacular.
Now everything is in place we’ve been able to carry out a few observations and already, within just two sittings and a few days of camera traps, have seen the following species in the area;
Roe Deer, Muntjac Deer, Badger, Weasel, Red Kite (Above the treeline), Buzzard (In neighbouring tree), Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Hobby, Wood Pigeon, Jay, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Wren and Goldcrest
A bit more work is required to get this site live but we are hoping to be taking bookings as we go into winter and as the woodland birds start to use the supplementary food source to get through the winter months.
Birds of Prey Hide:
We have also relocated the hide previously used for little owls to a new location. Unfortunately the little owls appear to have relocated this year, quite likely due to some farm activity that has taken place during a new dairy construction.
Instead we have located the hide in a prime location for birds of prey, an area of the agroforestry project which has already had sightings of buzzards, kites, kestrel and sparrowhawk as well as audible owls in the evenings.
More work is needed at this location still but the early signs are great!
Well we have a long list of little jobs to get done - repainting structures, stabilising setups, positioning feeders, preparing the hides for customers, habitat creation, website work, meetings and of course trying to take in and make the most of this wonderful environment.
All being well we should be open to bookings soon but if you’d like to get involved please give us a shout, there’s plenty of jobs to be done and I only have so many pairs of hands and eyes!