Upon arrival Mary lead ten SOC members through her mixed woodland which was extensively planted with native trees in the late 80’s and obviously a magnet for nesting birds. A very vocal Willow Warbler kept us company during our circular walk and we were lucky that it kept fine throughout the evening. We then chatted and munched our picnics beside the old converted barn on Mary’s spacious piece of land. There were glorious cowslips all around the barn thanks to Dave scattering a packet of cowslip seed around the barn some years ago. I only wish our seeds had taken to our ground as theirs have!
Initially, I imagine that these 50 or so acres were pretty open to the sky, but extensive and mixed native tree planting on the flatter areas has produced a most attractive secluded woodland for native birds. In one area Mary has attracted Treecreepers to nest behind a nattily positioned large piece of bark attached to the trunk of one of the trees! And at one point we spotted a large excavated burrow, fox or badger??
There are steep gullies across parts of the land where recent plantings of white hawthorn were in full flower as were some cherries too. Some years ago I saw my first Redpoll here so I was interested to see what else was attracted to the seed, nut and fatballs – tits, Siskin, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Blackbird were seen. A thrush had used a stone to smash many snails.
Beyond the woodland area are well-worn paths through lush grass and woodrush eventually leading to a seat over-looking one of the very steep-sided ‘dens’. Not a term I was familiar with but an interesting geological feature first described by Hugh Miller, local geologist and writer in the early 1800’s. These curious steep-sided gullies are full of vegetation (gorse, broom, saplings etc) and must be perfect for nesting birds, and support badgers, foxes, pine marten, roe deer and red squirrel. Apparently there is always an area of eroding earth pillars in these dens, very curious.
A well-positioned seat looks over the dens towards The Fairy Glen RSPB reserve, a wonderful viewpoint and well-pecked fatballs in evidence! We finally returned to the barn and our cars with a red sunset in evidence to the west.
Very many thanks to Mary and Dave for a very enjoyable evening. Number of species spotted: 26