Oh, to be a ground nester...
...now that spring is here... Well Spring has happened and the silaging has started, just as the ground nesting bird's chicks are hatching out. The meadows are full of Curlew, Lapwing, Pheasant and Partridge chicks amongst others and a week ago I saw my first young Pheasant flying.
There are still a few meadows around here cut later in the year for hay and DEFRA's basic Countryside Stewardship scheme prevents cutting of these grasslands between 1 April and 31 May to give these birds a chance, but silaging has a huge effect on these species.
However, that is not the only problem of course. There was a hell of a racket going on yesterday, with Curlews manfully trying to defend their chicks against marauding Crows. The Crows (probably 6 or so) were lined-up in a hawthorn hedge taking Curlew chicks out in the meadow. It seemed a well co-ordinated affair with one end of the line launching an attack, the parents defending there and immediately the other end of the line swooped in. It must have continued for at least 10 minutes, I watched from about 100m for a while then moved on, but the commotion was still going on as I moved out of earshot.
Last year the hawthorn blossom was very pink, seems very fresh and white this season. The same bush (with less blossom) for reference!