We are so proud of our wide-ranging eco-friendly initiatives. Our countryside location offers us many opportunities to develop and support our natural habitat and the diverse range of wildlife around us. Our gardens, orchards, meadows, ponds, woodland and organic small holding all encircle our beautiful farmhouse and converted barns. All are meticulously tended through the seasons.
Spring is one of the most exciting times in natures’ calendar with buds and blossom bursting through, birds nesting, chicks hatching, and new-born piglets and lambs arriving!
We are extremely excited that a pair of Barn Owls and a pair of Kestrels have made their home in our purpose-built nesting boxes. We have set up two live camera feeds and are hoping our Barn Owl and Kestrel pairings breed successfully. We have linked the feeds below so that you can all see what our bird couples are up to.
The Barn Owls have been in residence since early March. Both hunt at night, the male more than the female. They hunt extensively around South Farm, from about half an hour before dusk until early morning. It is a wonderful sight to see them fly out to hunt. During daylight hours the female mostly remains sitting. The male visits, preens, feeds the female and often mates. Some days he roosts elsewhere. Remarkably our Barn Owls appear very tolerant of the movements of cars and people, noises and light. We feel very lucky to have them nesting so close. The pair are very closely bonded, very much a pair and seem very affectionate. We are waiting and hoping for eggs!
For the last two years the Kestrels have fledged five chicks in this nest box. They are currently very present, flitting in and out of the nesting box intermittently. In previous years the Kestrels have started laying in May – Kestrels egg-laying is triggered when their food supply is adequate. We believe nesting is imminent now, as the Kestrels are much more in evidence, perching on and in their box and staying close by.
The Barn Owl box allows limited daylight so daytime images may be poorer. The best view is early on a sunny morning when the sun beams directly into the entrance hole. At night the infra-red light switches on and gives better definition, but in black and white.
The Kestrel box was made at South Farm and offers much better visibility with more daylight entering and a sharper focus.
But beware – bird watching can become addictive viewing!
Through the seasons we will be posting wildlife events and what’s growing in the organic smallholding as it happens!