Whitburgh Farms hosted a farm visit organised by the GWCT on Wednesday 8 May for local school Tynewater Primary, Pathhead. The Primary 4s began their tour with a talk from gamekeeper Graham Rankine who described the work Whitburgh Farms do to help grey partridge and how important it is to look after their habitat.
Graham also spoke of the need to maintain a balance between predators and game and wildlife. Meeting Snowy the ferret was very exciting for the youngsters, as was finding out why traps are needed to control numbers of magpies and crows. Graham showed a demonstration nest and the destruction that rats, for example, can cause to the breeding success of ground-nesting birds.
Iona Laing from the GWCT then led the pupils on a walk around the pond to look at more bird life, including ducks, geese and moorhens. The group were lucky enough to hear a grey partridge, but sadly none was brave enough to show its face as our young, enthusiastic ornithologists struggled to keep the noise down!
Jim Nichol, farm manager, introduced the pupils to the farms bulls Elvis and Highlander. He talked about silage and the hard work involved with looking after the cattle. The orphan lambs were also a highlight, as was the tour of the cattle in a farm trailer and the chance to sit in one of the farm’s tractors and on the quad bike.
Iona Laing, education officer for GWCT in Scotland, said: “It was a superb visit and, as always, brilliant to take the youngsters onto the farm and show them everything that goes on there – not just the farming aspects but the valuable habitats that must be maintained for our wild birds and other wildlife. I hope that they, and their teachers, found the visit interesting, and a big thank you to Whitburgh Farms and their staff for making this possible.”