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March 2021 Newsletter  

News from Kings Field

Our ‘mothers to be’ arrived at Kings field two weeks ago, took one look at the grass supply and haven’t stopped eating since. They are all thriving and their characters are really showing. Molly is definitely ‘head-girl, with Amy as second in command. Sprout and Rose are definitely more co-operative, especially when goodies are on offer. They are all having sugar beet and a grain supplement – well, they are eating for two!

From the sublime to the depths … of the Bumpstead Brook. A welcome side effect of the recent heavy rain has been the fact that most of the accumulated mud on the river bed is now somewhere out in the North Sea, leaving the original gravel exposed. This is great news for Phoxinus phoxinuswhich as I’m sure you know is the common minnow. They lay their eggs in gravel. Where you find minnows, you are also likely to find kingfishers. There’s at least one slightly further downstream. Keep your eyes peeled for that ‘flash of iridescent blue’.

Two days ago, I saw seven fallow deer, sheltering in our proposed ‘woodland den’ next to the sheep enclosure.

Come and have a look – details on the website.

David Buckley

rose

Rose looking thoughtful

 

Spring news

Our garden pond, which is only half the size of a bathtub, was host to masses of frogs all sploshing about and croaking and getting very serious indeed. They produced so much frogspawn that the entire surface of the pond was covered. I have given some away and some has been put in the larger pond at Noakes Grove, but we still have frogspawn to spare if anyone would like some for their garden pond.

Having a garden pond is one of the best ways of helping wildlife, and frogs always try to return to the pond where they were hatched in order to breed. They take about three years to reach maturity, and in between times little froglets can sometimes be seen hopping about in the vicinity of the pond.

Meanwhile, in the wood at Noakes Grove, the leaves of the bluebells, dogs’ mercury and wild arum (lords and ladies) are pushing their way past the leaf mulch to the light. Freezing cold though the wind may be in the meadow, it is a bit sheltered in the wood so they seem undeterred. Tread carefully therefore and watch them grow.

Elaine

spawn

A covering of frogspawn

Work parties

Although we have had to cancel the general work parties because of covid restrictions, we are trying an experiment in the meadow and could do with some help. Moss is lovely, so pretty and magical, but it has rather taken over the grazing meadow. As the hungry sheep will be returning in a few weeks’ time, we are wondering whether going over the field with rakes, scratching up moss will give the grass more of a chance of fighting its way through.

Four stalwart volunteers (one of whom was our enthusiastic young Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer) had a go at this on Saturday, and we found we could remove a lot of moss in just an hour. So, if anyone would like some healthy exercise, do please join us on Sunday 21 March at 2.00. This is agricultural work and we will be at least two metres apart from each other as we progress down the field. If we keep the gaps between us very wide, we should not be breaking any rules. Do please bring a rake as I only have three. I should warn you, though, that I found it hard on the back and the arms!

Elaine