Thursday, March 07, 2019

Farewell to the Impenetrable Forest

I wrote about the Impenetrable Forest here in 2016. It was a small field left to go wild. Over the years a few hawthorn bushes sprang up, then shot up, until it became a dense copse of ten-foot high trees and bushes. A brook runs along the lower northern edge with reeds, so there is some variation. It is good primarily for Warblers, with currently the patch stronghold of Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler, but also Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, and Chiffchaff seen regularly. In previous years Sedge Warbler and even Grasshopper Warbler have sang from here. In winter it is good for tits, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Redwing, as well as other more regular birds. It is good too for bees and butterflies, with a couple off years ago large numbers of Vestal Cuckoo Bee. Quite an amazing gathering of wildlife, with high density and in spring quite a racket.

But no more. Today I passed the field and saw bushes stacked up, heavy tracks of trucks, and a digger. I went on and chatted to the farmer. He used to grow wheat and barley on it but couldn't get the harvester up the road anymore, so had neglected it. He is putting it back to grass to grow for hay, which he can easily harvest.

It was always an anachronism. Quite odd. It is unreasonable in the south east of England to expect land to be just left, and we should be grateful it is still being used for agriculture. At least now I may be able to see the birds I can hear.

Time to bid a fond farewell to the old birds, and extend a welcome to the new ones.

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