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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, 29 August 2012

A treat of a hobby.

Young Hobby in Westhorpe in 2011 taken by Mike Rae (www.mikerae.com)
The opportunities for watching wildlife at this time of year can be somewhat limited from the tractor cab. As the combine works it's way up and down the fields I am always pleased to see how many different species are taking cover in the oil seed rape and wheat crops and it reminds us that we still needs to leave cover once the fields are completely clear of crops to give them somewhere to hide from predators. The numbers of young pheasants and partridges we have seen this year have been especially pleasing given the difficulties they had with the wet weather earlier in the summer.

The highlight of the harvest so far though has come in front of the mower rather than the combine. Nick was mowing the grass seed stubble to remove the long dead grass and as he was driving up and down the field he was disturbing the skylarks taking refuge in the long(ish) grass. A hobby had realised this and was sitting on the ground waiting for Nick to drive past before making its move after the skylarks. The skylarks knowing the hobby was gunning for them were waiting until the tractor was almost upon them before they flew as short a distance as possible before dropping back in the grass. Because of how close the skylarks were to the tractor, trying to evade the Hobby, Nick and I (who by now had rushed up to see the show) were treated to the spectacle of the agile Hobby flying around the tractor cab in an attempt to catch the skylarks. At times the Hobby was no more than 5 metres from the cab and provided a tremendous display. This went on for over half an hour before the Hobby gave up and left to hunt somewhere else empty talloned It will not be long until the Hobbys are making their way back to Sub Saharan Africa so it was a real treat to witness one at such close quarters. PB

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing - what a spectacle. I kinda feel sorry for the larks AND the hungry hobby.

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