Sunday, 18 April 2010

A day to savour at Windmill Health Farm

Today was one of those Spring days that I look forward to all winter. Perfect days like this are rare and you have to grab them when they come. The Lizard peninsula can be quite chilly in an east wind but this morning it had abated and it was calm, sunny and warm. Not even a dose of man-flu (no comments please ladies), a souvenir of my trip to Scotland last weekend, could spoil my enjoyment of the farm at its best. My arrival in the farmyard was greeted by a Swallow and a Pied Wagtail, both of which nest in the old buildings.

This pond, funded by Plantlife, was excavated over four years ago but the water is very rarely clear. We think this is due to the wind creating constant turbidity in the water which prevents the suspension of fine clay particles from settling out. As a result of the murky conditions, aquatic plants and invertebrates have been very slow to gain a foothold. We came up with a plan to significantly lower the water level, which should allow it to clear. Plants should then colonise it more easily and their roots will help to bind the soil together. A permanent adjustable sluice will be installed this year, but in the meantime we've been drawing the level down with a syphon. So it was great to see a Greenshank and two Dunlin poking around in the muddy margins of the pond all morning and clearly finding plenty of food.

Sand Martins and more Swallows were moving through, skimming the surface of the water for a quick drink before flying on north. Wheatears were gathering on the old pasture, a couple of them perching on the World War II pill-box to look out for passing insects. Sedge and Grasshopper Warblers were singing and Dougy had a female Merlin and heard and saw the first Cuckoo of the year.

Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and several Buzzards came soaring over, disturbing a gathering of 50+ Linnets still finding seeds in last year's arable fields.

Who needs Lemsip when you've got all this?

1 comment:

  1. It was a cracking day and the reserve looks ace. Well done to all involved.