Trip Report: Burnett (29 January 2013)

Elm Farm at Burnett, run by Philippa and John is under a stewardship scheme, so plenty of areas are left uncut and some areas are seeded for wildlife. With the rain after snow it was wet underfoot and the standing water in some fields developed quite well during our walk! Ten walkers were undeterred by the showers and pleased with our haul of 28 species. Several large flocks of mixed Fieldfare and Redwing were seen throughout but only the occasional Starling. Chaffinches were plentiful but we didn’t find any Brambling among them. We only identified one Yellowhammer for sure and some flocks of possible Linnet. A big party of Raven – some doing the tumble – came over, while another was being harassed by a Sparrowhawk who then confirmed his ID, going into a steep dive toward us, flashing across the path and away into a copse of ash trees. Down by the pond where the Owl and Kestrel boxes are, a lone Grey Heron stood – quite still – but looking very thin. Nothing else stirred although there was a hint of brown at the entrance to the Kestrel box – a nest prospector or, more likely, a foul weather refugee. The hoped for Woodcock didn’t materialise, and the Mistle Thrush was missing from his usual spot, although we did hear one singing from the woods. A Treecreeper was located and shown to most of us. Back at the farm, the feeder was playing host to many Blue and Great Tits, Gold and Green Finches and the boss of them all – House Sparrow. Thanks to Roger for leading this lovely walk and to Philippa for coming round with us and sharing her knowledge.

Nick Hawkridge