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Autumnal bird spotting
in East Devon

A lovely sunny autumn morning at Smallicombe Farm in rural East Devon, the change we need to dry up all our waterlogged fields. The colours on the trees in the wood behind the yard reflected in the sunshine is a real picture today.

I have topped up the fat balls and the seeds hanging from the bird table by the kitchen window. Almost immediately I had an influx of Sparrows apparently becoming scarce is some areas. I think they have all moved to Smallicombe Farm. We have also had the cheeky Blue tits, larger Great Tit and the timider Coal tits just in a space of 10 minutes. Earlier we had a Greater Spotted Woodpecker that visits us regularly and brought several of its fledglings during the summer.

The Robins and the tiny Wren pick up the pieces from below the table as do our free-range ducks and chickens! Ian has become attached to a family of Pied Wagtails that have nested for several years under the solar panels on the kitchen roof. They rear several clutches of chicks a year in this warm protected environment. The Pied Wagtails have been joined recently by a Yellow Wagtail we have not seen before.

A retired vet living near Smallicombe Farm surveys all our birdlife and puts up bird boxes in the spring to encourage new families.

Bird Identification sessions for adults and children at Seaton Wetlands over the winter.

I still use my bird spotting bible ‘A field Guide to the Birds or Britain and Europe’ by Peter Mountfort Hollom (that must be over 50 years old now!) that has travelled with me as far as The Antarctic, Greenland and Unst in The Shetlands. My bird spotting guide was very impressed as this is still known as the bird spotting bible!

I am having more time to look out the window as we are not busy.

Latest news

April is my favourite time of year for a walk in the ancient woodland at Smallicombe Farm, the captivating sight of a “carpet of blue” as the bluebells spring into life.  This phrase aptly describes the breathtaking scene that unfolds when bluebells bloom en masse, transforming woodland floors into a sea of vibrant blue.

How exciting. Smallicombe Farm has teamed up with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, River Cottage, Michael Cain, Pig at the Coombe, Darts Farm and Ebb Tides. We are running a ‘Farm to Fork’ and ‘Pig Keeping’ course during the 16 day Taste of East Devon Festival from 9th to 24th September.

Whilst on holiday at Smallicombe Farm you can now not only taste our delicious homegrown sausages, burgers and steak but you can also cook them on our BBQ using locally sourced chemical free charcoal produced from Offwell wood.