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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, 13 July 2011

June in Westhorpe

 The two Buzzard chicks were ringed on the 3rd. There was Common Blue, Tortoiseshell, Large and Small White and Meadow Brown butterflies on the Pollen & Nectar Mix on the 5th. Also on the 5th Derek from the RSPB recorded 3 Crossbill at Great Ashfield whilst looking for Turtle Doves. Barn Owls were spotted going in and out of a Barn Owl box at Great Ashfield on the 6th and a Red Kite and 2 Buzzards were seen on the 7th and 17th and on both those days Turtle Doves were singing at the Hall, The Lodge and near the Church in Westhorpe and at Kiln Farm, Great Ashfield.. I saw my first Red Legged Partridge Chicks on the 10th drying off on the back drive and on the 12th a family of recently fledged Coal Tits were on the feeders outside our office. A Spotted Flycatcher was on a telephone wire in the farmyard on the 16th and a hedgehog ran across the road in front of my truck at Great Ashfield. Swallows, Swifts have been hunting over the wheat field for the whole month.

I have been out checking the Barn Owl Boxes throughout June and have found Barn Owls breeding at both our farms and on farms at Great Ashfield, Rickinghall, Gislingham, Hitcham and on Thelnetham and Redgrave and Lopham Fens. Barn Owls have been seen regularly hunting in and around Westhorpe during June.
At Westhorpe there has also been Kestrels, Stock Doves and Jackdaws in Barn Owl boxes and we found a Little Owl’s nest in a log pile at Kiln Farm. Many of the summer migrants are still singing, Whitethoat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiff-chaff have al been heard throughout the month and we were able to ring fledgling Goldfinches, Robins, Dunnocks, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Whitethroats and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers indicating the breeding season is going very well. During the month the Pollen and Nectar mixes have changed colour a number of times depending on with flowers are in bloom. The mix is designed to be in flower thorough the whole summer and every time I have visited them it has been alive with Bumblebees, Butterflies, Moths, Spiders and many other insects.



The ponds have had Dragonflies and Damselflies on the regularly, most frequent are Common Blue Damselflies, Common Darters and Broad Bodied Chasers. Walking around the Oil Seed Rape field there are hundreds of spiders webs woven into the plants and as many birds especially Whitethroats, Dunnocks and Blackbirds darting in and out of the field looking for food.
Another busy month for wildlife on the farm and not nearly enough time spent outside watching it all! PJB

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