No doubt, during the recent cold weather, many of you will have attracted good numbers of wild birds to your feeders. However not all birds come into gardens but will rely on what food is available out in the fields. Some of our local farmers are involved in the Countryside Stewardship schemes; here areas are planted with wildflowers, mustard, millet, sunflower or kale. This provides birds, mammals, insects, bees and butterflies with an all year round supply of food and enhances the environment.
When visiting one scheme, I was surprised at both the diversity of birds present and their numbers. In addition to the usual garden birds, there were linnets, chaffinches, goldfinches, greenfinches and tree sparrows. Also in smaller numbers, bullfinches, yellowhammers, reed buntings, corn buntings and grey partridge.
We still have huge flocks of starlings feeding on the stubble fields surrounding the village with redwing and fieldfare, all of which will head back to Europe towards the end of March. The dawn/evening chorus is just beginning with song thrushes and mistle thrushes leading the way. Things to look out for are: frog spawn, chiffchaffs any day soon, and white tailed eagles (yes, really!!). Four young eagles were released on the Isle of Wight last spring and two took up residence in our region soon after and have been seen locally.