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Wildlife news from Church Farm in Devon

Andrew Cooper is best known as a broadcaster, presenter, writer and international award winning wildlife film-maker for the BBC through his documentaries and live reports on wildlife and environment issues. Andrew also owns Church Farm in South Devon which is often featured on BBC Autumnwatch for the vast array of wildlife present on his farm, a lot of which can be seen on his live web cameras including a bird feeding station sponsored by Vine House Farm.   Andrew is extremely passionate about wildlife and we are proud to welcome him as a guest blogger.

Visit www.wildlink.org for live camera footage of birds feeding on Vine House Farm seed and for more information about Church Farm and the inspiring work Andrew does for wildlife and the community. 

What a difference a year can make.  After a long, cold dry spring, this year looked like a repeat of the soaking wet last. But all similarities stopped at the farm gate.  Temperatures crept higher in June, and then soared in July.  Summer arrived in Devon with a real scorcher. Early morning now dawns with clear blue skies. And the sound of skylarks over the hill beyond the woods is only drowned by the happy twitter of swallows in the courtyard.  Looking across the valley, young rabbits are hopping everywhere which are easier to see now we have started cutting our grass fields. Most evenings fox cubs play in the meadows, while the badger cubs closely follow their foraging mother.  Only the urgent ke ke warning call of a bird of prey, carrying in the still warm air, makes them stop in their tracks. Down in our barn near the tractor shed, the resident kestrels have a new brood.  Although we have a camera on the nest, the young soon start moving around. It is only when they start flying that we can count the young kestrels this season. Nearby the barn owls are also carrying food back to the same barn after dusk. So we must wait and see.  Meanwhile many of our small bird nest boxes have done well and insect numbers are rising fast. It looks as though this could be a great butterfly year.

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