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Cousins working together on our family owned farm with the aim of running a commercial modern farm producing high yielding, high standard crops while maximising wildlife diversity. Brian is said to be the farmer and conservationist, whereas Patrick is a conservationist and farmer. This mix has given a new direction for the farm, building upon the work that our fathers and grandfather has done to improve the overall success of the farm business. The farm has gone from strength to strength with the farm being recognised at a national level winning the coveted National FWAG’s Silver Lapwing Award for farming and conservation in 2009 and then Patrick and Brian were named Countryside Farmer of the Year by the Farmers Weekly in 2010.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Blackcap

Sylvia atricapilla
A stocky, grey-bodied warbler with a distinctive black cap. The female's plumage is browner and the cap is reddish-brown rather than the black of the male.
Although migratory, it can be seen all year round in Britain as winter migrants to France, Spain and beyond are replaced by incoming migrants from Austria and Germany.
Size
13 - 15cm
Weight
14 - 20gms
Habitat
Woodland, parks and large, mature gardens.
Nest
A neat cup-shaped structure at low level made from grass, roots, small twigs and moss, lined with fine grass and hair.
Eggs
One or two clutches of 4-6 buff-coloured eggs with brown marks in April-June.
Food
The Blackcap has a varied diet consisting mainly of insects but will also eat worms and snails, nectar and pollen. Fruit and berries are consumed in autumn and winter. Readily take sunflower hearts and peanut cakes.
Voice
A melodic warble, the Blackcap's song starts with a jumble of harsh notes, followed by a series of rich, fluting tones which can include parts of other birds' song, such as Nightingale, Blackbird, and Song Thrush. Little wonder the song of the Blackcap is often considered the best of all bird songs.
Characteristics
Blackcaps like territories with a mix of shrubby undergrowth for nesting, and tall trees which provide feeding and the concealed perches they prefer as song-posts. In winter, they will venture into mature gardens to supplement their diet of fruit and berries with table scraps and peanuts from hanging feeders.
They are not very social birds and will more usually be seen individually rather than in groups.
BTO Statistics
Their Green List status means that there is no identified threat to the population's status, as their 590,000 breeding territories would indicate.
Breeding
The male Blackcap starts building several nests from which the female chooses one and then finishes its construction herself. Incubation takes 11-12 days with the young remaining in the nest for between 10 - 14 days. There are estimated to be around 930,000 breeding territories in the UK.

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