A few months ago, I started the ‘Country Life’ section on my Blog, but not a lot had been added to it since then. During the Month of April, I have been making a mental note of all the species of plants, birds and Mammals that we have either seen, or managed to capture on the wildlife camera.
The most noticeable change in the surrounding countryside has been the turnout of cattle into the fields. Around here where it’s quite exposed, all the dairy herds have been wintered in sheds, and apart from a few hardy beasts, most of the beef cattle have been as well. With the increase in temperature the beasties have been turfed out with an abundance of fresh grass to feed on. Across the valley is a large diary herd of Ayrshires, and on the drive into work of the morning, I’ve seen a number of pure Hereford herds enjoying the great outdoors.
On one road across the top of the moor there is a field where every year the farmer introduces this years herd of young Heifers, which always seems to include Guernseys, Jerseys, British Blues, Limousins and some Heinz 57s. When the sun shines, these beasties have a wonderful view, almost stretching to the sea and on days like this, it must be great being a Cow.
In the garden, what started off with quite a bit of bird activity at the bird feeders, seems to have tailed off during this month. While we will continue to put food out for them all year round, I guess there is a growing amount of food available for them in the surrounding countryside. We have a rather feisty Robin who sees off any other intruders to his patch, but the three highlights for April have been a small gathering of half a dozen Goldfinches playing in the morning sunlight; the appearance of the House Martins in the late afternoon feeding off the insects ( We did have a pair of these nesting in the woodshed last year) so it good to see them back.
But our favourite highlight has been a Barn Owl on his late evening hunt. I can only describe the flight of this magnificent bird being like that of a low flying Lancaster bomber gracefully making it’s way through a mountain range. The difference being in that the Owl did this in total silence. Just stunning!
We also have a resident Pheasant, who we have named Percy. He has figured out that the best time to feed is after the smaller birds have had their early morning breakfast at the feeders. All the small seeds and nuts that fall to the ground have him racing over for the leftovers in what is probably his easiest feed of the day.
Last weekend, Sand found a report from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust on the various fauna found on the land of her old farm on the other side of the valley from where we are now located. The list was quite extensive, so today, we hit Waterstones and got ourselves a copy of the ‘Collins Complete Guide to British Wild Flowers’. While we might not realise what we are letting ourselves in for, we will attempt to classify as much of the flora and fauna that is growing on our 8 acre plot. A brave plan, and, as I type, Sand has spent the last half hour trying to identify 9 randomly picked wild flowers from a 30-minute walk around the policies.
The results of her deliberations are as follows.
Sweet Vernal Grass
Other observations made include the following.
Raptors unidentified 🙁