Dr Alan Larkman and myself attended a farm walk at Carswell Farm last night, the farm is situated off the 420 about a mile down a private road and runs all the way to the Thames. The RSPB and BBOWT were in attendance identifying plants and birds. There was an excellent turn out by the public particularly in view of the England football match being televised live at the same time and birds of note seen included hunting Barn Owl and a marvellous fly-past by a bubbling Curlew, these low lying water meadows are a stronghold of this much loved bird.
There were 40 plus members of the public ranging from youngsters through to the retired and everyone gave the impression of having had an enlightening and uplifting experience. The RSPB were able to show some of the work they have undertaken to help the wildlife of this area including scrapes dug as recently as this last year.
Our society has been involved at this site for several years now operating our Tree Sparrow project at two separate sets of farm buildings and we have good numbers regularly breeding here. Pat Wixey “The Barn Owl Man Of Oxon” has an Owl Box in one of the barns and it may well be occupied as we saw three Owls during the evening. At other times I have noted Stonechat, Wheatear, English Partridge, Little Owl, Peregrine Falcon and in winter Common & Jack Snipe plus Woodcock.
The family farming partnership of Mr Peter Ferris his Daughter Susan and her husband Rodney Martin are committed to a sustainable farming future coupled with a respect and love of the wild creatures and flora they find on their doorstep. These type of farmers really give me hope that all is not yet lost as urbanisation and intensive farming make serious inroads into our countryside.
The evening was part of the local initiative and came under the heading ECO WEEK 2012 and Faringdon deserves great credit for organising the event, and the area can also be proud of having more organic farms within two mile of the town than any other similar sized town in the country.
The farm runs an organic beef herd supplying among others M&S and the mainly Simmental cattle looked a picture as they grazed the lush meadows the cows were accompanied by a magnificent red ruby coloured and apparently oversexed South Devon bull.
This super outing finished in a marvellously English way with tea and biscuits – sometimes it feels really good to be alive.