When Belted Galloways attack!... vegetation

BEFORE the ungulates start chomping
AFTER they have been let loose for a couple of months
The top two photographs, taken at Priest Hill this morning, illustrate how the Belted Galloway cattle have removed the dead vegetation from the largest field, opening it up for Skylarks and Meadow Pipits to populate this coming spring. The beasts have now been moved to the other (two) smaller fields to start the chomping process all over again. A lively visit, with thrushes starting to gather and good counts of Stock Dove and Starling being made. Kestrel (1), Green Woodpecker (6), Stock Dove (30), Skylark (10), Fieldfare (15), Redwing (160), Stonechat (1 male), Starling (225), Reed Bunting (5, including a very smart male).

The garden feeders back home have seen a ready procession of takers enjoying the sunflower hearts on offer. So far, Blackcap (female), Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit and House Sparrow have been regulars, with Blackbird, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove hoovering up the crumbs underneath. There is one species of bird that eats far more than all the others put together. Any guesses? Like a clue?


Derek Faulkner said…
The cattle do a good job, we've had cattle do the same job near the Swale NNR. Looks bad at first but it's amazing how quick the new,fresh grass recovers, you'll barely notice the difference next autumn.
Steve Gale said…
This breed of cattle are used by the Surrey Wildlife Trust and National Trust around here Derek. Very docile - at least, I haven't been charged by them yet!
Nick Croft said…
We had cattle on Wanstead Flats up until the foot and mouth outbreak in the 80's, I remember seeing them down by the M11 approach road in Redbridge when I had to hitch home, poverty stricken, from college. It would be good to have them back, especially Belted Galloways (my favourite cattle), instead we have dogs, mulchers and not much left of a special place in London. A ten year plan drawn up with Natural England–the ones who brought you Buzzard licensing, badger gassing, and brood management for Hen Harriers
Steve Gale said…
I've just read the Wanstead Birding post Nick. Frustrating!!!

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