Snow leaves evidence of who has been down on the farm

Anne-Marie Hamilton from Wood Farm in Hail Weston.

Anne-Marie Hamilton from Wood Farm in Hail Weston. - Credit: ARCHANT

I am feeling somewhat short-changed, as recent promises of snow have rather fallen below expectations. Instead of beautiful deep, crisp snow, the ground looks as though someone has been rather stingy with the icing sugar on top of the cake!

The reason for my disappointment is that when we have a heavy fall of snow, it is suddenly possible to see things happening on the farm that might otherwise be missed. Rob had a lovely example of this with the snow that fell in January.

As he was driving along one of the farm tracks, next to the woods, Rob was intrigued to see a buzzard down on the ground, a few yards in front of him.

Although he stopped the tractor as soon as he spotted him, the buzzard still took off, in a flurry of alarm. Rob decided to wait for a few minutes to see whether he would return, and to his delight, a short while later, the buzzard landed back on the track again, this time stopping long enough to retrieve the prey that he had dropped in his initial panic. As he soared back up into the sky, Rob was fascinated to see that he was clutching an enormous dead rat in his talons.

Had he not stood out against the white background of the snow, it is doubtful that this mini-drama would have been noticed, and the buzzard would have gone about his business, unseen. 

Some more, serious bird watching took place at Wood Farm as Rob took part in the Big Farmland Bird Count which is organised annually by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.

Although the count only takes place for a very short time, it gives an interesting snapshot of what is on the farm each year, and it is fascinating to see which species are increasing. 

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There were more than 20 house sparrows, as well as an impressive flock of linnets, and an even larger one of yellowhammers, along with many of the more common farmland birds, such as French and English partridge and pheasants, with a few of the more well-known song birds.

Many small mammals are tucked way, trying to sleep through the cold winter months. My sister was walking through the woods this week and accidently moved a piece of wood, to the annoyance of the inhabitant underneath! I rather suspect that the little shrew was somewhat unimpressed to be disturbed during his winter nap.