A Little Piece of Upland

Here on the farm we have a tiny vestigial piece of upland, it’s tucked away on a bank alongside a farm track and is so tiny you’d barely notice it. There are a few tufts of heather, some rowans and a fair sprinkling of blaeberries. It’s wonderful to see the tiny berries starting to appear but I’m pretty sure the birds will beat me to them (and so they should of course) but it would be nice to find the odd one or two they’ve missed.


With this dry spell the water level in one of the beaver ponds has dropped considerably and it’s a great chance to see how beautiful is the sub surface construction of a beaver dam. It doesn’t show too well in the photograph but the face is beautifully sculpted and faced with clay. The thickness of the bottom of the dam is so much greater than the top ensuring the water pressure at depth does not cause a breach. Amazing what instinct can do!



May Day on the Farm.

Spring has been slow, which is how we like it. Birds are nesting everywhere. The wrens in the Bevis Shed are nesting in the motor of the sawmill so we cannot mill any planks. An immaculate pair of bullfinches are busy shredding fruit buds in the orchard, which is not so good. I watched at the top pond on a lovely May Day evening. The moorhens are just hatching and a naughty chick had left the nest and was fossicking around. Eventually mum gathered him up and got him back up onto the nest in a clump of rushes where they settled down for the night.

The beavers emerged around 8pm from the corner of the top pond and I could see nipples on the female. Either she has just given birth or she is just about to. It is hard to tell when beavers are pregnant because they always look fat. All the herbs are growing now so there is plenty of fresh feed. They don’t touch the bluebells, but they nibble away fairly consistently at the brambles and are slowly making it retreat.

There are reports of some red deer around. Drew has seen the tracks in a neighbour’s garden.  And we have fresh tracks through the Jubilee Wood along the north bank. We have not had deer around here in living memory. We found an old buck rabbit lying down yesterday, with no sign of injury. It was still alive so I killed it. Perhaps it has the haemorrhagic disease that kills quickly? I left it for the kites.

Down at Ricketts Mill, the ponds are beginning to settle in and the reeds and willows are all sprouting. The greylags have arrived with three goslings. Gradually the raw earth is healing over. Spring is here.


And I’ve just seen a pair of green sandpipers down at Ricketts Mill!