Trip reports

A walk at South Farm, Rodmell

Wheatear in spring

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Seven of us went on the walk around South Farm, near Rodmell, on a nice sunny day with a bit of wind. For me it was a return to the farm on which I worked for more than twenty years. The walk involved going around fields but not following footpaths.

We started off by walking under Mill Hill up to Onion Hill before heading back to the farm yard for coffee. The badger set is still active (they have a TB test next week; let's hope they pass). We had lovely views of yellowhammers and whitethroat with cowslips coming out on the hill, and with skylarks singing. On Onion Hill we came across a flock of 50 to 60 linnets feeding on kale stubble. Back at the farm yard we drank our coffee while watching wagtails, chaffinches and tits flitting about, and we found out that a barn owl is sitting in the nest box that I put up in 1995.

The second part of the walk took us past the arable fields up to Telscombe Tye and back. We heard corn buntings and saw buzzard, kestrel and five wheatear. One wheatear stood out from the others; its black and white plumage suggesting the Greenland race.

After a second coffee break we headed back over the fields to the farm yard to see the newest lambs in the lambing shed. We all had a good time, and learned a bit about farming and the costs involved.