It’s frustrating to see that despite my best efforts, crows are still in evidence across the Chayne. I may well have removed the bulk of breeding birds and I’m always on the look out for new nests, but that doesn’t stop the less destructive but still dangerous gangs of non-breeding birds from passing through now and again. My nearest neighbour traps crows with the same enthusiasm that I do, but there’s too much unmanaged sitka spruce to the west and south of the farm which means that, while I take a big bite out of the local birds, others are always waiting to step into the breach.
I watched a curlew chase a crow away from his partner’s nest yesterday morning, then saw a lapwing beating hell’s bells out of a corbie on the neighbour’s land this morning, just over the march dyke. Everybody loves lapwings, but they really don’t do very well on the Chayne. The habitat is not ideal for them, and the foxes are always waiting to descend on the few pairs who try their luck. They have more lapwings on the neighbour’s property, and given that my new game crop is right on the march, I hope that I can draw some of this year’s young over when the crop is drilled next week and the young plants start to show. I remember as a very small child seeing clouds of lapwings on a turnip field which had been recently sown, and I have fingers crossed that the next few years on the Chayne spent resurrecting the old arable ways might see them returning.