Conversations about haymaking

Email from Countryside Officer Vicky Roscoe (Thu 15/07/2021):
Could you to put the attached notice on Facebook and the website? I don’t have a date as yet from the farmer but he did say it’s likely to be next week or the week after. Judging by the forecast, he could be on site very soon.

SCP-NR (Thu 15/07/2021):
Will do.

Message from Rob Preston (Fri 16.07.2021):
Could I ask a question? Now that the park is classed as a nature reserve, I’m surprised that the grass is still being cut down, doesn’t this go against the point of being a nature reserve ?

SCP-NR (Sat 17.06.2021):
If the grass were not cut or grazed, the reserve would revert to bramble thicket surprisingly quickly and we would all need machetes. The county owns the land and manages it with the help of a tenant farmer. There are strict conditions to the tenancy agreement but the farmer is entitled to a financially viable crop of grass so there are limits to what we can achieve. For instance, the cut this year has been delayed a little in the hope that our bee orchids have time to set seed, but not really as long as we would have liked.

[1] Bee orchid [2] Common spotted orchid by Gillian Newbury

Email from Ian Bushell (Sat 17/07/2021):
The grass/hay has been cut, baled and removed from the following: Simpsons Field, the Arboretum, the little triangular field, Brunts, The Race, Sheep Field and the Allotments.  All the Orchard trees are unharmed, even the small Crab Apples. Remaining uncut at present are: Village Green, Lambrok Meadow, Kestrel Field, Corn Field and Sleeper Field.

SCP-NR (Sat 17/07/2021)
Right you are.

[3] Map with field names [4] Grass cutting in The Orchard

Message from Sharon Vincent (Sat 16.07.2021):
Morning Country Park. Thought I’d let you know that while the farmer was cutting the grass in the field by School Lane we were watching the birds following him. There were 5 of them & we think it was 2 Buzzards & 3 Red Kites! They were still quite high up & unfortunately the phone camera couldn’t get a good picture.

SCP-NR (Sat 17.06.2021):
Hello, Sharon. Both buzzards and red kites are scavengers and they have learned that there are casualties when the grass is cut: poor little field vole corpses, the mortal remains of those that didn’t duck in time. What I want to know is how the birds can get there so quickly – do they have a lookout half a mile high, like vultures, keeping an eye on all the hayfields in the area?

[5] Buzzard in the arboretum by DKG [6] red kite

Sharon (Sat 17.06.2021):
I know what you mean! They did the same last year while we were in the park, though there were quite a few seagulls as well last year. It’s lovely to see the diverse wildlife the Country Park attracts

Header image by DKG 201.

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