NITTEN FIELD 2010

"A chaffinch ringed in September was found dead on a road in Northern Sweden the following Spring."

Nitten Field is a wildlife management project to the East of the Lookout, on the cliffs above Mewslade.

For the last eight years this 3.2 acre field has been cultivated in a specific way to attract wild birds and to sustain them during the winter period. A mixture of barley, dwarf sunflowers, linseed, spring triticale (barley hybrid) and kale has been sown this year with a small quantity of fertilizer. There is a strong growth of wild plants in the base and around the edges of the field.   Around three sides we have planted strips of ‘Stand and Deliver’ a perennial chicory.   Previous years have seen a huge increase in the insect and butterfly population in this field as well as increased bird activity from September onwards.  There is also a high population of voles as well as grass snakes, slow worms and adders in the margins.

The project is mainly aimed at helping the smaller farmland birds, that are under considerable pressure nationally.   The field provides a large volume of food that attracts mainly greenfinch, yellowhammer, linnet, pipit, goldfinch, skylark, chaffinch, reed buntings, bramblings and house sparrows, we hope one day to see tree sparrows.   Bird ringing is carried out by Barry Stewart in the late autumn and in 2007/2008 a record of over 1000 birds were ringed. A chaffinch ringed in September was found dead on a road in Northern Sweden the following Spring 1700 km away and a goldfinch was re ringed in London.   There are very few projects like this in Wales.

This year the project is fully funded by the the Countryside Council for Wales (third year of participation ) and for this we are most grateful. Without the support of The Gower Society, however, the scheme would never have commenced in the first place. The seed mix is obtained from Kings of Spalding and local farmers Morgan and Lucy Rees, carried out the cultivation and seeding for us with the assistance of young Lee.