After a hot summer, and a dry and warm autumn, over the last week the weather seems to have changed. Rain and ice is not unusual for November, but the brief big flakes of snow were a bit of a shock. With this change we have now bought some of the cattle inside for the winter as the grass has stopped growing and as soon at it gets wet, the risk of cattle damaging the soil increases. So rather than hay and grass outside they are moving on to silage (fermented rather than dry grass) in our sheds. We had fantastic hay making weather in June so made lots of really high quality hay, and expected to feed it this winter, however we don't have much left as we've had to feed a large amount since August as the grass growth has been so little. Fingers crossed the winter will be short.
This autumn the cows had an interesting pair of visitors accompany them, 2 Cattle Egrets (Bubulcus ibis). These birds are rare in Britain but are starting to colonise us from the continent, like little egrets did 20 years ago. The first one ever recorded in Wiltshire was in 2004, with the odd record since then. They are great to watch as like to be right in under the cows snapping up insects and worms as the cattle disturb them. The have been with us happily for well over a month, but I guess will move on once all the cattle are inside. Thanks to John Grearson for the great photo of a Cattle Egret living up to its name in our field.