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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.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Pied Wagtail


Motacilla alba yarrellii
A slender black, white and grey bird. The female is greyer than the male and the juvenile is more of a yellowish-grey. Both sexes have an awkward, undulating flight, but their black and white tail makes them striking and obvious in flight.
The Pied Wagtail is the British sub-species of the White Wagtail that is found throughout the rest of Europe. They are not easy to tell apart, but the Pied Wagtail is essentially a darker species.
Size
16.5 - 18cm
Weight
17 - 25gms
Habitat
Open areas such as lawns, golf courses, picnic areas, supermarket car parks.
Nest
April-August. Uses holes in buildings, thick vegetation, old nests of other species or the open style of nest box. Made of leaves, twigs, moss and grass and lined with feathers and hair.
Eggs
2 broods of 3-5 whitish eggs with dark spots. Incubation is 11-13 days.
Food
Insects, peanut granules, mealworms, grated cheese, hi-energy ground blend, pinhead oatmeal.
Voice
Plain song that is a high pitched 'seel-vit'. Their main method of marking territories is through visual display.
Characteristics
The Pied Wagtail has adapted well to living alongside humans and most of its preferred habitats bring it into close contact with people. Although they get their name from routinely wagging their tails whilst standing still, they can often be recognised because of their characteristic darting, flitting, running and chasing after their natural food, insects.
They can be attracted to gardens by mealworms, peanut granules or even something as simple as grated cheese. Most Pied Wagtails 'stay put' all year but some from northern areas may move south in cold weather.
Large roosts of Pied Wagtails are frequently seen in trees on the edge of supermarket car parks etc., which are warmer that the equivalent places in the countryside.
BTO Statistics
The Pied Wagtail is a species in the Medium BTO Alert list. They have severely declined from waterways since the 1970's, which may indicate habitat problems. Approximately 10% of gardens have a resident Pied Wagtail but most of these reports have been taken from a cold winter spell.

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