Our field in Mill Lane - Our own nature reserve.

A brood of Blue Tit

Greg getting a stock dove box up

Our family owns around 10 acres of land in Mill lane Charlton kings. We have made the field as friendly as possible for birds and wildlife and we record species seen here and monitor the breeding of birds.

We have made and installed many bird boxes around the field with 39 at present and more being made.  As well as tit and open boxes we have been encouraging Stock Doves, Woodpeckers, Treecreepers and recently put up a Kestrel box.

The field has in the past been grazed but at the moment the grass is rather long. Many mature oaks and well developed hedgerows provide a great habitat for many birds and other wildlife. We have fenced off an area and this is being managed to increase numbers of voles and mice and no sheep can get on here now. We are hoping this will become a really productive area.

We have had Little Owls breeding in one of the Oaks for many years and we hope again this years breeding will be successful.

A flock of around 9 Bullfinch is often seen and large mixed tit flocks work the fields hedgerows. Last year breeding highlights included Treecreeper which were seen feeding recently fledged young and Stock Doves. Green Woodpeckers are often feeding on the ant hills and Blackcap were seen to have a good year.

We have recently recorded 6 Spotted Flycatchers at the same time in the field along with a Redstart and Garden Warbler! This was an exceptional day!

January 2012- We have recently put up a Tawny Owl box. Unfortunately Squirrels were in two Stock Dove boxes and the Woodpecker Box. There are so many of them! A real nuisance.

Updates from our reserve- A lot of time is spent planting trees and making the area more and more wildlife friendly.

Tins are put down for Voles,Mice and Shrew to nest and shelter under.

Log piles with slots cut into them for insects to winter in and animals to shelter under.

A new hedgerow is planted and guarded.

The pond. An area of water is vital for any nature area. The lining may look untidy but the dry covered earth underneath has provided a perfect nest site and Voles, Mice and Shrews are often seen on the bank.

November 2011

Many Redwing are often feeding in the bushes at the moment and the Sloe Berries seem to be a particular favourite. A flock of around 30 birds recently dropped in to feed and there are always some present around the field. 2 Nuthatches were also on the feeder.

Not just birds - October 2011

With the area constantly being improved there is now evidently far more small mammals around in our fenced off area. Tins and felt often have a nest of Voles underneath and the Kestrels are hunting over the rough grass. This is great to see and shows that the work is paying off. 5 Slow Worms were recently seen under the felt and tins and they seem to be doing well here. The pond is also looking good and staying pretty clear. The excess lining of the pond may not look tidy but we have found it is perfect for Voles and Mice to nest under and.

Breeding 2011

We had 39 boxes up this year. 7 Boxes were successfully used by Blue Tit, and 3 by Great Tit. A lovely nest was built in an open box by a Blackbird but unfortunately was not used. A Jackdaw nested in a Stock dove box and 2 other large boxes housed Squirrels. Kestrels nested in the adjacent fields and adults were regularly seen hunting over our field. Young Treecreeper were again seen along with Blackcap, Long-tailed Tit and Greenfinch. A Whitethroat was holding territory for a while but there was no evidence of nesting. 3 pairs of Robin were recorded, each in natural nest sites. Wren and Dunnock were also seen carrying food in the field.

Green Woodpeckers were a very regular sight with 4-5 seen on a walk around with at least 2 young birds. The field is covered in ant nests and is perfect for them.

Other birds nesting either in the field or very close by were Mistle Thrush and Stock Dove.

Unfortunately it seems that the Little Owls no longer nest in our field but I have heard them nearby. It has been noticeable the increase in Grey squirrels and 2 of our larger boxes have been used by them and one drey was very close to the old owl nest site.

Reserve Update -30 March 2011

We have been doing lots of work recently. We have finally successfully fenced off an area that is now totally sheep proof and have now planted some hedgerows. We have dug out the pond and now just need to get the liner in there and fill it up. There are plenty of trees being planted now the sheep can't get at them with log piles for the insects and wildflower seeds sown.

We have put up more boxes this year and have repaired any damaged ones. We have made most of them from birch logs and have put metal guards on many of them to protect against the Woodpeckers. There are Jackdaws and a Blackbird nest building in boxes at the moment along with the Tits and a Kestrel is often over the field. The area is looking really good and work is on going to make it as wildlife friendly as possible. I will be trying now to update this area more often.

Breeding 2010

In 2010 we had 6 Great Tit nest around the field and 4 Blue Tits. 2 of the Great Tits nested in natural sites. Other breeding birds were Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Blackcap and we recently flushed a Pheasant with 3 young! We did not have much success in the open boxes and the Woodpecker box was not used. There are many areas we will want to improve on for next year.

Below is a plan of the field with each nest box marked blue and numbered.

The file below will be updated to record which birds use the boxes and how successful they are. Feel free to check their progress here. 2011 records below.

Bird Boxes 2011.xls Bird Boxes 2011.xls
Size : 27.5 Kb
Type : xls