Managing our wildlife haven – known as the Lennon Legacy Project or LLP – for Barn Owls, has created diverse habitat for a wonderful array of native plants and flowers, insects, butterflies, birds and mammals.
Find out how we look after our Barn Owl habitat and share the monthly highs and lows of wildlife sightings, unpredictable weather and practical conservation work.
More about our Wildlife Diary.
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‘Transforming intensively grazed sheep pasture into Barn Owl Heaven’.
After a fairly wet November and December, January started dry but significantly colder with a mean temperature of 4.9 degrees centigrade for the first 3 days compared to a mean of 9.1°C in December. The cold weather brought large flocks of Linnets and Goldfinches in to feed on our 2.5 acres of winter bird food crop. We also had our usual flock of around 30 Meadow Pipits feeding on the rough grassland.
Amazingly, on the 3rd, there was still the odd Cornflower flowering on the edge of the crop and Forage Rape in flower too.
A systematic count of birds visiting the bird crop on the 4th revealed a site record 18 Reed Buntings, counted in the North Park hedge adjacent to the crop. In addition there were approximately 140 Linnet, 15 Chaffinch, 15 Goldfinch and the LLP’s first record of Yellowhammer; a female sitting in the North Park hedge with Chaffinches.
Weather station data for 2018 was downloaded and compared with previous years. Most worryingly, mean temperature for 2018 was above the average for the period (2007-2018). Indeed, this has been the case for each of the past 5 years.
On the 10th some remedial work was carried out on the stream between the two ponds to fix several leaks through the bentonite pond bed at the stream mouth. This appeared to be successful although there still appears to be some minor works to be carried out to the stream bed further down.
Bird monitoring on the 11th revealed 13 Reed Buntings together in the North Park hedge. However, there were birds coming and going all the time and the feeling was there may have been up to 20 individuals of this species present. No sign of the Yellowhammer this week, but there were about a dozen or so each of Chaffinch and Goldfinch, and over a hundred Linnet.
On the 15th another 8 yards of the North Park hedge was laid, and with three other sessions scheduled in the near future we’re hoping to get a significant amount done to this stretch before the Spring.
On the 20th of January, frog’s spawn was observed for the first time this year in both the ponds in Forde Orchard. These are the first-of-the-year dates for frog spawn which have been recorded over some previous years:
- 20th January 2019
- 21st January 2018
- 30th January 2017
- 24th January 2016
- 27thJanuary 2015
- 24thJanuary 2014
- 30thJanuary 2013
- 19thJanuary 2012
- 4thFebruary 2011
- 9thFebruary 2010
- 28thJanuary 2009
- 23rdJanuary 2008