Yorkshire Wolds Wildlife
When staying with us at Kipling House, you will spot Harold, our striking hare statue out the front windows. Harold is not to size! But he is in tribute to the beautiful hares that you can see roaming around the Yorkshire Wolds.
Brown hares may look a little like the well-known rabbit, but they are much larger, appear leaner and have black-tipped ears. They are in fact the fastest UK land mammal and can reach up to 40mph in full flight. There are many over the rolling Yorkshire Wolds Farmland as their favourite habitats are arable fields and grassland as they like to hide and sunbathe in the arable and grassy fields. If you’re lucky you may spot one in the grass paddocks around Kipling House Farm!
The majestic Barn Owls have been doing very well in recent years around the Yorkshire Wolds. They have beautiful heart-shaped faces, white bellies and golden buff upper parts. They love open grassland and glide with their large wings along hedgerows looking for their next meal. Your best time to spot a Barn Owl is at dusk, just as the sun is starting to set.
As their name suggests, they love to nest in cavities of old barns and buildings and also in hollows of trees. The introduction of nesting boxes has greatly aided the population growth. They make harrowing shrieks when calling to one another, so listen out for this while sat out on the garden sofas in the summer months.
These large imposing birds were once confined to Wales, but after a successful breeding programme they can be seen in higher numbers in England’s Midlands. We are lucky up here on the Wolds to also have a high concentration of these birds as they become more sparsely located further north and west in the UK.
You can often see these large birds (wingspan of around 185cm) soaring over the grass paddocks, the pond and also flying over the Barn’s courtyard. Not only are they very large, but they seem to glide slowly in the air scanning the floor for food. They are distinguished by their deeply forked tail, rusty red-brown colourings and hooked beak.
Although they look rather intimidating, these birds are largely carrions. This means they mostly eat things that have already died (such as roadkill) or worms. They have been known to eat smaller animals but they mainly act as our natural road cleaners. Fun fact – Red Kites mate for life and will return to the same nests each season!
Pheasants and Partridges
These game birds can be seen in abundance within the UK countryside. They mostly run along the floor but will take flight when under threat. They fly relatively low to the ground looking for the next nearest cover, whether that be in woodlands or a long patch of crop.
Kipling House Farm neighbours Warter Estate, a large ring-fenced estate and farmland. Warter Estate have diversified in a big way into shooting for sport and so rear pheasants and partridges as well as leaving out feed for them to keep them within the estate boundaries. A result of this is we now have more than most rural areas close to Kipling House Farm as some do escape into our neighbouring woodlands.
The estate has recently started breeding albino pheasants that are pure white, and one or two has been spotted at Kipling House Farm in the last year!
Our ponds are Dew Ponds, a man-made ponds created in the 18th and 19th Centuries to be used by livestock on the dry chalky hilltops. Our ponds today are just a lovely feature, but are still host to a wide range of wildlife.
In the spring you may see frogspawn and then tadpoles filling the water surface. These then grow up into toads which sometimes you can see hopping further afield in the Barn’s garden around the brick walls.
There are no fish in the dew ponds, but lots of species of insects. Lots of white-shelled snails can sometimes be seen relaxing on the small shrub/tree that borders the pond and roadside.
Most exciting is the newts that have been spotted on occasion. It is a rare sighting however to count yourself lucky if you see one. It is unconfirmed whether these newts are Smooth Newts, Palmate Newts or the rare Great Crested Newts!