Camilla & Roly Puzy recount their experience of the 2015 Big Farmland Bird Count
Last year we took part in the Big Farmland Bird Count for the second time. Spirits were high as we set off in pursuit of seeing that elusive corn bunting. We rapidly had to manage our expectations as we sat for a long time only to be rewarded by pheasants (straying from our neighbours), wood pigeon and crows.
We gave some blue tits and blackbirds a lot of grateful attention and enjoyed observing their busyness in the hedgerow. However, as we sat it gave us a chance to look at the farm, take the time to reflect and appreciate, which we do not do enough.
Whilst the birds we saw were a little disappointing (but perhaps realistic given the rain and wind and the fact our sheepdog Belle had followed us), the experience actually inspired us to take time at other times of the year to sit next to our stewardship plots and margins and observe and listen. I'm happy to say later in the year we were thrilled to see flocks of linnets, goldfinch and a pair of corn bunting.
A sense of community spirit
Being part of something like the BFBC is a similar feeling to taking part in other national initiatives like Open Farm Sunday. A sense of working together to create an overall picture of what we are all doing and achieving for wildlife which the GWCT and others can then use to promote our industry, as well as a community spirit thinking that you're not the only one out with your binoculars and spotting sheet trying to shelter from the weather.
So don't be disheartened if on your chosen day in February like us you might not see the target species of bird you would like to, be encouraged to keep looking throughout the year and tell your visitors what you've seen on Open Farm Sunday!
Camilla and Roly are National Trust tenants at Saddlescombe Farm in West Sussex. They are hosting a Farmland Bird ID day, with Bruce Fowkes from the RSPB, on 26th January – book your place here.
To find out more about what they do follow them on twitter @CamillaandRoly or visit their website www.camillaandroly.co.uk.