|Budding Birders on the Ovebury estate bird ID training day|
Yesterday, I ran one of the 17 bird ID days that are being held across the country prior to the Big Farmland Bird count. This particular day was held on the Ovebury estate situated on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border near Tewkesbury, by kind invitation of Penelope Bossom.
This delightful estate has an equally charming estate staff to go with it! I was joined by estate manager, Jake Freestone (known to many of you I’m sure because of his prowess as a blogger/tweeter!), head keeper Paul Gillett and office based staff Claire, Becky and Ros – who all combined into a force to be reckoned with!
From homemade chocolate brownies to a delicious lunch and a walk already planned out for me – I embarrassingly had to do very little to make the day a success – even the weather was dry and sunny! So my thanks go out to all of them.
We spotted 28 species: Mallard, Coot, Heron, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Pied wagtail, Blackbird, Song thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Rook, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Raven, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Yellowhammer, Goldfinch, Linnet, Chaffinch, Skylark, Blue tit. Great tit, Long-tailed tit, Pheasant and Red-legged partridge. Not bad for a chattering, rambling group of mixed bird ID skills!
Don’t forget – the big week approaches! We are asking people to spend 30 minutes on any one day between the 6th and 14th February, recording the species and number of birds seen on one particular area of the farm.
Nearly (but not quite!) a 1,000 farmers, managing nearly one million acres of UK farmland, took part in the 2015 count. We just have to beat that 1,000 total this year – so please dust off those binocs and get out there next week!
Not only do I want to thank all the farmers who have allowed us to hold these bird ID days on their farms, but also to all the various organisations that have helped us to put on these ID days and also promoted the BFBC across a wide range of media.
Finally, we could not have done any of this had it not been for our main sponsor – BASF and their ever enthusiastic, environmental specialist, Graham Hartwell.
So a huge thank you from Jim Egan (who actually does all the organisational work) and myself and all at the GWCT – we most certainly could not do it without all of you!
Here’s to a very successful 2016 BFBC next week! I will let you know how it goes!