At this time of year I slowly wind down my feeding station on the moss. I always have mixed feelings because it marks the end of a winter of feeding and seeing some cracking farmland birds, but it also marks the start of spring and it means that I will be back at the 'obs' for the excitement of migration. I don't suddenly stop feeding, but slowly reduce the frequency of my feeding visits so the birds become less dependant on the food.
This afternoon I made one of those 'winding down' visits and as I drove down the track 4 Stock Doves lifted from some stubbles. As I was filling my bucket with seed I could hear a Buzzard calling from Tree Sparrow wood and a male Tawny Owl from Curlew Wood. As I looked up I could see the Hen Harrier hurtling past Curlew Wood propelled by the blustery northwesterly wind.
As I approached the feeding station two Grey Partridges lifted from the field and at the feeding station were a reduced number of 95 Tree Sparrows and 15 Chaffinch. I didn't have a great deal of spare time but just had enough time to walk along the '97' hedge and back. I saw something spook 14 Stock Doves and 15 Skylarks and it was the Hen Harrier again. I managed to get the heavily cropped blurry photograph below!
I had 11 Reed Buntings along the hedge and nothing else so I headed back and picked up my various containers and left the moss.