Sunday, 17 January 2010

Woolly Mowers

Recently, during a discussion on the KOS forum, Norman McCanch explained about the "tillering" of crops by grazing sheep on them. Providing the ground is firm the sheep do no harm to the winter wheat and benefit from grazing it.

In turn the grazing stimulates the crops to more vigorous growth when the warm weather comes and the sheep are withdrawn. Today was the first time I'd seen this regime in operation at Bockhill. There were lots of these woolly munchers on the big field, surrounded by and electric fence.
Round here the snow has more or less disappeared, except where it has drifted against hedges and humps. After yesterday atrocious weather today was the complete opposite, a glorious clear winters day, but the lack of small birds was noticeable.

In the small farm wood I came across a small group of Long tailed Tits and as usual found the urge to photograph their acrobatic antics irresistible.

This one seems to be saying "Look mum no hands". Just as I was focusing on this bird I could see a large bird flying towards me.

It was partly hidden by the trees but was obviously a largish raptor, and my first instinct was Harrier.
Once I got out side the confines of the wood I watched a Marsh harrier coming towards me.

It circled almost directly over the farm a couple of times, gaining some height as it did so.

When I first saw it it was coming from the north-east, but this could be misleading as I may just have been following the coast line. It may have just come in, over the sea, but with the high population now in Kent it could have been a local bird. It left heading south-west, if I'd been in my garden it would have just about passed overhead. Harriers are always good to see and this is the first Marsh Harrier I've seen locally this year. In addition today I saw two Woodcocks, but only in flight and a Golden Plover. There was also a Cormorant, that looked very much like a Continental "sinensis" race to me, that flew north over the sea.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Nice one with the Harrier Tony, you did well to get some pics. Adam