Thursday, 30 April 2015

A walk around farmland

I joined Robert Jaques for his early BBS survey on Monday. It is a square in the outskirts of Hull, all agricultural land. One of the fields appeared to have been left fallow, but in others, crops where growing and yet other fields had just been tilled. The field margins often included ditches - and some needed to be crossed, which made the trip a little bit adventurous. There were hedgerows with flowering gorse and hawthorn, and remnants of hedgerows here and there, a sprinkle of large trees in between and a couple of farm houses with yet more hedgerows. Skylarks provided a background noise pretty much throughout the survey, in fact, after Woodpigeons, they were the most numerous bird we encountered. A good show as well for Yellowhammers with several males guarding hedgerows.
 When arriving to the farmhouse we were greeted by House and Tree Sparrows (with a pair mating) and Swallows and a couple of House Martins. A Pied Wagtail sat atop one of the buildings.
Just after fishing the second transect a female Sparrowhawk appeared and flew over our heads, and Robert spotted what he thought was a Little Owl flying into a tree by the road. After some searching with the binoculars we found it, amongst the branches, staring back at us. Cyclists, cars and dog walkers passed by the tree, but the little owl took no notice. This was a great way to finish the visit, a pity that the two raptors won't be part of the survey transects.
Mammals abounded in the square. We found these Roe Deer hoofprints. We came across fox scat, molehills, many rabbits and Robert saw a vole.
Tramp slug (Deroceras)
Pied Wagtail on farm roof
Male House Sparrow
Swallow, showing that they can sit on trees, they just prefer wires.
Male Linnet on sprouting ash.
Red-legged partridges on a field.
Male Yellowhammer.
Another Yellowhammer.
Female Sparrowhawk patrolling territory.
Spot the Little Owl.
Pity about the branch across the eyes!
Hundreds of large tadpoles, and a newt in a ditch.

 Bird list

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