Tim's farm biodiversity
Meandering up the drive to the farmyard your senses will be alive to the noise of bird song, the hum of pollinators going about their daily collection, the smell of Mother Nature because here on the farm we work in harmony with her, always trying to enhance the ecosystem in order to move forward together. The farm has not used insecticides for the past six years because we rely on natural predators to do the work for us. This has provided an abundant food source for all avian activity on the farm. The numbers of birds are monitored by the local bird ringing group, Belvide Ringers.
Farming a regenerative farming system means half the farm’s acreage has cover crops growing over the winter, providing an abundant food source and cover for overwintering birds and because the soil is alive as it should it becomes the best restaurant in town for visiting birds. These include English Partridge, Skylarks, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Golden Plover, Woodcock, Field Fare, Meadow Pippet to name a few.
Waterways are always protected around the farm with flower-rich margins providing nectar and seed mixtures for insects and birdlife. Supplementary feeders are provided in the leaner months when the food supply runs low for the birds, where they are monitored and rung for further information gathering. In one season 100 Yellow Hammers, 180 Linnets were rung, just to show how bird numbers have increased following the introduction of regenerative farming. It would not be unusual for them to ring 80 Skylarks in one night. This is proof of how profitable farming can exist alongside a thriving environment.
The farm also incorporates the river Penk to the Eastside and the Shropshire Union Canal running through the middle, where you can often see Kingfishers and other water birdlife.
The farm has planted many hedgerows and trees over the last 50 years to offer habitat and a food source for wildlife. Four oak trees have recently been planted from offspring of the oak tree in which Charles II is said to have hidden. This, as all the environmental work we do here, is an ongoing project to increase biodiversity and enrich the ecosystem in which we live.
It is not only in the day we have noticed an increase in our rich biodiverse culture. Nocturnal species are also thriving. Six species of bats have been found on the farm, often seen feeding over the canal. We also have a moth trap on the farm where samples are collected for Rothamsted Research Institute, who informed us that we collected more moths in three months than their previous trap (situated on another farm about 10 miles away) obtained in ten years. In addition, it is important to note that our moth caterpillar population has sequentially increased so much that our birds have an abundant supply of food.
A Blue Tit chick can eat 100 caterpillars a day. To feed a brood of 10 chicks (which is the norm here), adults need to find 1000 caterpillars a day. Thus, endorsing the non-use of insecticides to our healthy ecosystem.
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