Thursday, 22 December 2011

Heron at the urban farm!

There’s a surprising amount of wildlife at the urban farm,considering it’s set in the middle of Wolverton. Apart from woodland and garden birds we’ve seen frogs, toads, newts and fish in the pond (we’re not sure what they are so if any fish experts would like to come along to identify them we’d be very grateful!) 

With all that variety of wildlife we probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see a heron flying overhead on Tuesday lunchtime, buffeted by the wind we’re having at the moment and looking a bit worse for wear. Sarah - the farm’s manager - told us it’s been there for a few days and thinks it’s probably a youngster that’s been kicked out of the nest and is looking for a new feeding ground. 

According to the RSPB there are 14,200 nests in the UK. You can’t mistake them, everything about them is long -legs, neck, beak and wing span with grey, black and white feathers. They hang around any kind of water - garden ponds, lakes, rivers and on estuaries and can be seen any time of year. They mainly eat fish (goldfish in ponds are vulnerable so give them some protection) and amphibians but will also go for small birds like ducklings and small mammals like voles.
In China herons represent strength, purity and long life; in Egypt the heron is a symbol of creation while in Africa, Greece and Celtic mythology the heron is a messenger of the gods. In Welsh mythology a heron flying up a river is said to be a sign of rain. Sure enough we were rained off the farm a few hours later - although I’m not sure the heron was heading for the river - but we’d cleared a good bit of work. 

 The farm has been given a fruit cage which needed uncoupling before it can be erected. While the men were doing this in the warmth of one of the polytunnels the rest of us were out in the cold weeding the raspberry canes and mulching with straw…hmmm…

Other good news is that one of the volunteer team - is having a baby. Sadly she‘s moving to London next week but we’ll keep in touch; one of our trainees has got himself a part time Christmas job and another trainee entertained us at tea break by giving us a rap version of his day so far….cool. 
If you’d like to get involved with the urban farm come along on Tuesdays - we usually start at about 10.00. 

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