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.
The press release by the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project has really caught the imagination and following on from a terrific double page spread by John Grant in yesterday's East Anglian Daily Times. Today Steve Piotrowski and & I have filmed pieces for both BBC Look East and Anglia News. There is also going to be a feature on Newsround which is now on CBBC and I will put the link on this blog once it is broadcast.
Patrick being filmed by Tanya Mercer from ITV
We returned to the box on the meadow before filming and the last chick which was in the box had fledged and was nowhere to be seen. At Westhorpe this year we have had 2 pairs of Barn Owls, the first pair raised 7 chicks in 2 broods (4 then 3) and the second pair raised 3 chicks from their first brood but their 2nd brood was later by a month and the second brood failed. There was one chick which we had hoped would survive as there has been two adults present recently but the chick died in the box. Second broods are unusual and the fact that we have had 10 chicks fledge in Westhorpe is something that we are all very proud of. We hope that over the winter the pairs will hold territory and breed again next year. For now we will graze the meadows with sheep to open the sward up to encourage the wild flowers next spring.