Guardswell Farm is a glorious haven for a variety of native and migrant wildlife. This was clear as soon as I started working here earlier in the year. What I am told was once an area quite void of animal and plant life could not be further from its present state. It has now flourished, due to the foresight and huge efforts of Team Guardswell to re-wild their Farm. Hedgerows + tree corridors planted, native wild flower meadows established, and bug hotels erected, the site is teaming with all manner of beasties, which supports an ever growing and diversifying eco-system.
Image by Lianne Mckay Photography
My particular interest is with the birds, who see Guardswell as their home, breeding ground, or at least a jolly place to pit stop for a snack (the Wagtails thoroughly enjoy searching for bugs on our lawns)! This year has seen huge number of House Martins and Swallows return to their nest sites in the roof rafters and soffits of the Steading and Farmhouse buildings, after their annual Spring migration from Africa. Watching them swoop and soar over the lawn to catch insects on the wing has been just wonderful, hopefully many a fledgling has been successfully reared this season! We also have an abundance of Goldfinch, Green finch and Chaffinch who have taken full advantage of the bird feeding stations in the small woodland. These can be watched from behind the new bird hide, built earlier in the season to appreciate them more discretely. Observing the inter-species politics at bird feeding stations is enlightening! It has been a delight seeing more and more fledglings appear over the last couple of months, from inquisitive robins to scruffy looking Blue tits, the woodland is full of young birds, finding their feet (or wings more accurately!)
I really love how Guardswell has created a space for wildlife, uncompromisingly so.
Grass is left to grow on verges instead of being immaculately mowed, flowers and plants normally considered to be weeds are allowed to establish themselves, providing a much-needed source of nectar for insects, and the birds, as a result, are thriving. We wouldn’t want it any other way and what a privilege it is to enjoy it all whilst at work! I’m off to top up the bird feeders now!
By Jade Stott