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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 July 2011

Spotted Flycatcher (and find out how you can help it!)

Muscicapa striata
An unimpressive bird, the Spotted Flycatcher has a greyish-brown body with a pale wing bar and underparts that have light brown streaks over a buff base colour.
Both sexes are alike and difficult to tell apart in the field but the juvenile is the only one to have spots!
13 - 15cm
14 - 20gms
Gardens, parks and woodlands. Prefers habitats with small openings and lots of deciduous trees.
May-June. Nests against the trunks of trees, among dense creepers, hanging baskets and other unusual places, and open nest boxes.
1 to 2 broods of 4-5 eggs. Number of broods does vary according tothe weather conditions.
Flying insects (bees, butterflies etc.), mealworms etc. from the ground in bad weather.
A simple 'zee' or a loud 'tuck-tuck'.
They are named for their habit of darting and chasing after insects in flight, which is how they catch the majority of their food. Only in cold weather when there are far fewer flying insects around they do feed from the ground or take insects from leaves.
They are the last of the summer migrants to arrive (late May) and have only a limited time to breed before the weather starts to turn and they head south again. They benefit significantly from a warm summer, and will otherwise only rear one brood.
BTO Statistics
The Spotted Flycatcher has undergone a decline of 78% in 25 years and is a BTO High Alert species. It is unclear whether the cause of this decline lies in the UK or in their wintering grounds in other countries, but breeding performance in the UK does seem to be improving.
Waveney Bird Club (WBC) is championing a community-based project that will attempt to reverse a worrying trend that shows a drastic decline in Spotted Flycatcher populations.  The project will be run under a partnership arrangement with the diocese of Ipswich and St Edmundsbury.  The idea is to supply open-fronted nest boxes and fix these in churchyards in the Waveney Valley and northeast Suffolk.  The project will draw attention to the plight of this much-loved bird, get people involved and provide nesting sites that would allow easy monitoring.  Subsequently, WBC will monitor the nest sites and the data collected will make a valuable contribution to the national database at British Trust for Ornithology.  The success of the project could then be evaluated and further contribute to scientific studies on breeding success as well as determining the requirements of Spotted Flycatchers locally.

For more info: http://waveneybirdclub.com/pages/spotted-flycatcher-project.asp

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