The Quarterly Village Publication produced by Barrow upon Soar Community Association

Summer Watch 2009

I particularly like getting up early these summer mornings: maybe 5 or 6 o’clock. Dew coats the spider webs and on occasion I’ve seen a whole field covered as myriads of tiny spiders spin strands that stretch from row to row of the drying hay.

This year I’ve set aside some land to grow vegetables and am being plagued by rabbits. The babies are very cheeky; they sit a few feet away as I work clearly noting what I plant and where; they are not however having it all their own way. A large black feral cat, not quite the beast of Bodmin but pretty big all the same, lives in my sheds and snacks on them from time to time. The other day I found a large rock completely covered in prehistoric shells, devils claws, ammonites, etc. I thought it unusual because there were so many shells all stuck together; so I put it to one side. About an hour later I was passing it again and noticed the skin and two hind legs of a small rabbit neatly displayed on it. I assume the cat thinks it makes a good picnic table.

The buzzards I saw for the first time last year are still here and helping me with the rabbits. And judging by the feathers I have found, they also like rook and partridge.

About a month ago one of the girls who keeps her horse at my stables said she had seen a green woodpecker on the drive. I’ve never seen a green woodpecker here and so viewed her observation with some skepticism, particularly as a few days earlier she told me she had been trying to catch one of my quail which had obviously escaped and was running up and down the drive. My quail were all accounted for in their cage and she had actually been trying to catch a grey partridge. To my surprise however I have now seen the bird myself on one of my fruit trees.

This farm was called Elms Lodge because of the many elms that grew here until destroyed by Dutch elm disease. The elms still grow in the hedgerows and seem to get to about 12 to15 feet high before being struck down by the disease again. I hope they will eventually become resistant.

While working on my barn yesterday I heard a strange noise. It started like the harsh call of a crow then rose to the screech of a buzzard. I thought at first it was an animal in distress but could see nothing in the next field. The noise continued moving further away then came back.

I’m still puzzled as to what it was but hope to catch sight of it if it returns.
David Bird