The drought here in North Kent continues to take hold. According to the Sunday Telegraph yesterday, many parts of E. England have had just 2mm of rainfall over the last couple of months. Strong drying winds and very warm sun have been the most dominant type of weather lately and you can spot tractors carrying out cultivations across the arable fields here by simply looking for the dust cloud that is following them. The rather poor photo below shows the bone dry, yellow stubble fields stretching as far as the eye can see.
Farmers are often regularly depicted as the next best thing to Satan, especially if they also combine farming with game shooting. One farmer here on Harty however, does do his bit for the wild birds on his land. The set-aside strip shown below is around 400 yds long and 12 yds wide and is typical of the sort of thing that he sows each year. The grasses below the sunflowers are an amazing mix of around six different varieties, each producing seed heads bursting with small seeds. With the grasses there are also seed producing plants such as Fat Hen and Redshank and I've taken mixed bunches home for my canaries and British birds and they love them, as do the finches and buntings there each winter. Last year winter a nearby strip, with chicory flowers instead of sunflowers, was attracting a flock of Linnets of up to 160 birds daily and that flock was often joined by Reed Buntings.
Unfortunately it's not all good news. The two photos below show the current wheat stubbles along the Harty Road and just a third of the several hundred Greylag and Canada geese that are feeding on the spilt grain each morning. This and another field alongside, are sandwiched between Capel Fleet on one side and the dark green mound in the background, the other side of which is a large pond dug to attract ducks for shooting. The wildfowl are also shot in Capel Fleet, often in large numbers. It's hard not to believe that in several days time (Sept 1st) when the shooting season commences, that those unsuspecting geese will fly in as usual to be met by a barrage of shot from the syndicates that ring and shoot the area.