We love our birds at Headon! The birds we see play a significant part of life at Headon Farm. Each year we eagerly await the arrival of the first swallows, signifying winter is behind us and summer is on its way. We even based our new logo on the welcome swallows that arrive from Africa and mark the date we first see the swallows on the calendar. This year they were just three days later than last year after that epic journey. The swallows have been joined by the housemartins and are busy making their homes on the side of the farmhouse. The aerial displays as they approach the nests are spectacular to watch and can be seen from the campsite.
During late April/May we also listen intently for the cuckoo which can usually be heard calling from the wooded areas either to the left or right of our caravan site. Regular storage clients Ali and Ian whilst camping with us were the first to report hearing the cuckoo and again we marked the date in the diary. There have been a couple of years we didn’t hear this dove sized bird who lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. Regular readers of our Blog/Farm Diary will know the verse that Richard’s Gran used to recite to us each year:
The cuckoo is a pretty bird
Its sings as it fly’s
It brings us good tidings
And tells us no lies
It sucks little birds eggs
To make its voice clear
And when it sings ‘cuckoo’
The summer is near
Ali and Ian not only heard the cuckoo but reported seeing a skylark flying vertically into the air in our dog walking field. The skylark makes its nest on the ground so keep an eye out if you are walking your dog. Both the skylark and cuckoo are on the RSPB ‘Red’ list so we are very lucky to see/hear them.
At night, when it is all quiet we hear the hooting of owls. We have a regular tawny owl visit us in the farm courtyard and we have occasionally glimpsed a barn owl fly past. To encourage him we have installed an undercover barn owl box in our tractor shed with a camera trained inside the box. We don’t have a resident owl yet but will keep you posted should this change.
Along with these birds we have a black pheasant visit our bird feeding station in the farm garden each day. He picks up the dropped seed then makes his way across the touring site when it is quiet, you may meet him. Also feeding we have a pair of nuthatches (which is great considering we are a little distance from the wooded areas down the lanes), greater spotted woodpeckers (who bring their babies to the arch feeder), gold finches, cheeky robins, chaffinches, blue/great/coal tits and house sparrows. Also for the first time ever, we have had a jay ground feeding. What a treat!
When the grass in the fields neighbouring the campsite has been cut we see buzzards and kestrels hovering. The sparrowhawk occasionally swoops in and all the little birds hide in the hedges.
During your stay with us please let us know of any birds you see, or post pictures/reports on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear about what you see in the countryside around us at Headon.