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Naturetrek Farm Walk

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It was a pleasure to host our second Naturetrek tour at Rectory Farm.  Led by Neil McMahon, our visitors had a fabulous day!  See Neil’s report below for more details….


‘Our second Naturetrek Day Tour (Friday 29th April) initially began as a rather grey cool morning with a north-easterly breeze, requiring a warm coat for our walk around. However by the early afternoon it was warm and sunny and we were down to a single layer of clothing! Our day out began with a welcome from Fay and Phil and an introduction to the farm, it’s history and the principles outlined for successful farming and conservation. We were shown the mock Norman ‘Roman Well’ situated on an old Roman settlement and a wander up a short incline afforded us fabulous views of the adjacent Eyebrook Reservoir and the gentle undulations and contours of Rutland, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire either side of the Welland Valley.


We then took a walk around the fields with several Brown Hares trotting away from us as we went plus plenty of Red-legged Partridges, Yellowhammers and non-stop singing Skylarks. Hedgerow dwellers included both Common and Lesser Whitethroats and the skies above provided many wheeling Red Kites and Common Buzzards. A migrant Whimbrel flew over and the reservoir yielded Common Sandpipers, Great Crested Grebes and other common waterbirds. Quite a number of passerines attracted a male Sparrowhawk and furtive Yellow Wagtails passed over us again and again. As we walked a shallow incline around another field probably the same hares again trotted away from us and we meandered our way to a straw bale for our lunchtime stop. After munching a sandwich we were again joined by Fay and Phil and learnt more about regenerative farming practices, tactics for wildlife conservation and how both politics and economics play a part in farming both today and to the future. Fay accompanied us back to the farm, pointing out badger setts, examples of crop rotation and demonstrating the requirement for high quality but localised crop yields.


With Linnets and Skylarks buzzing around us we walked back to the farm and were shown the mixing barn for the wild bird food products and provided with a welcome cuppa and some of Sue’s wonderful home-baked scones and cake – yummy! With an opportunity to chat through and discuss much of what we had seen and heard, each Naturetrekker was provided with a goody bag which included a wild bird food sample. After the wonderful hospitality shown to us by the Johnson family we finished the day with a birdwatch at the northern end of Eyebrook Reservoir which proved to be fruitful with a corker of a male Whinchat posing on a hedge, a distant summer plumage Slavonian Grebe, close-showing Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, a sunning pond turtle/terrapin of some description and a hovering Osprey to finish the day.’



Neil McMahon



Checklist Naturetrek Day Tour

Rutland – Farming and Conservation at Eyebrook Wild Bird Feeds

Friday 29th April 2022.




Brown Hare




Mute Swan                                                                                                   Lapwing

Greylag Goose                                                                                             Whimbrel

Canada Goose                                                                                             Common Sandpiper

Shelduck                                                                                                        Black-headed Gull

Gadwall                                                                                                         Common Gull

Teal                                                                                                                Lesser Black-backed Gull

Mallard                                                                                                          Great Black-backed Gull

Tufted Duck                                                                                                  Stock Dove

Red-legged Partridge                                                                                 Woodpigeon

Pheasant                                                                                                       Collared Dove

Slavonian Grebe                                                                                          Skylark

Great Crested Grebe                                                                                  Sand Martin

Cormorant                                                                                                    Swallow

Grey Heron                                                                                                   House Martin

Red Kite                                                                                                         Yellow Wagtail

Sparrowhawk                                                                                               Pied Wagtail

Common Buzzard                                                                                        Wren

Osprey                                                                                                           Dunnock

Kestrel                                                                                                            Robin

Coot                                                                                                               Whinchat

Oystercatcher                                                                                              Blackbird

Song Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Reed Warbler (heard only)

Blackcap (heard only)

Lesser Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

Chiffchaff (heard only)

Willow Warbler

Goldcrest (heard only)

Long-tailed Tit

Blue Tit

Great Tit





Carrion Crow



House Sparrow

Tree Sparrow (heard only)






Reed Bunting



Large White                                                                                                                 Peacock

Small White


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