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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.

Friday, 1 June 2012

House Martin



House Martin

Delichon urbica

House Martins are small birds with glossy blue-black upper parts and pure white under parts. They have a distinctive white rump with a forked tail (easily distinguished from Swallows as they lack the long tail streamers). Juveniles have a browner rump and have some white mottling in the nape.
Size
12cm
Weight
15-23g
Habitat
Found throughout the UK, bar the Scottish Highlands. Some still nest on cliffs, which were their traditional sites of choice. Nowadays most House Martins can be found in villages and towns where they nest on buildings, often forming colonies.
Nest
Swallow and House martin (Flying) collecting nest material
by water of muddy pond.
A cup-shaped nest is built from mud and lined with feathers and grasses. All but the mud is collected on the wing.
Eggs
1-3 clutches of white eggs (May-August)
Food
Insects including flies and aphids
Voice
A soft twittering song
Characteristics
Extremely sociable, House Martins will help out other parents by calling chicks out from the nest when it is time for them to fend for themselves. Fledglings are fed by parents in midair.
BTO Statistics
Overall numbers are still high but House Martins are now amber rated due to recent moderate declines.
Breeding
After spending the winter in Africa, they return to the UK in the Spring and most will return to a previous nesting site. They breed in colonies that usually include five nests but can increase to tens and even hundreds of nests. Lack of mud can be a problem (particularly in dry summers) but House Martins will readily use man-made nest boxes. Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young. Eggs are incubated for 15 days and chicks hatch 22-32 days after hatching.
Feeding
Most feeding is done on the wing. House Martins fly higher than Swallows to catch their prey, but the insects are generally smaller.

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