Report from Neil McMahon – tour leader
Today was a Naturetrek Day Tour at Rectory Farm, Great Easton the home of the Johnson family and Eyebrook Wildbird Foods.
The breeze was still quite cool at times but some lovely sunshine ensured there was plenty of warmth too.
After meeting at the farm buildings, Fay and Phil provided some information about the history of the farm and aspects of modern-day farming and we went for a walk around the award winning 900 acre complex.
Brown Hares were plentiful but the growing spurt of the crops in recent days meant that sometimes all we saw were the ears! A few Rabbits were about too and there is a real exultation of singing Skylarks wherever you walk! Yellowhammers, Linnets and Red-legged Partridges were next and big birds in the sky included many Red Kites, Common Buzzards, a Kestrel, a Hobby and a family party of Ravens.
Leverets indicated successful breeding in the hare population but we saw one very small animal subject of an argument between a pair of Carrion Crows and a Red Kite with the crows eventually winning and caching the unfortunate lagomorph.
Insects on the wing included Large White, Small White, Orange-tip, Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, several Silver Y moths, many teneral damselflies and a super Broad-bodied Chaser. Common Whitethroats were the most common warbler with singing Blackcaps and a Lesser Whitethroat too. A few Yellow Wagtails were in the bean fields and an overflying Meadow Pipit seemed unusual.
After our walk there was an opportunity to talk about the production of wheat, including the provision of quality grain to Weetabix, check out a very busy Badger Sett and shown the mixing room where the bird foods are mixed and bagged. And then it was time for a cuppa and Sue’s home-made scones and Victoria Sponge – you can see why I like this particular Naturetrek tour!
We finished the day overlooking Eyebrook Reservoir where the best of the birds were an Osprey, Common Terns, a pair of Stonechats, a drake Teal and a pair of Wigeon (and of course more Brown Hares)!