BirdsThe migrants are back. After a slow start, due to cold weather, numbers of whitethroat, yellow wagtail and swallow recorded are now close to last year’s numbers. Highlights so far are the two lapwing displaying and six yellow wagtails on one of our spring bean fields.Twelve of the fifteen occupied starling boxes have now hatched and the adults are now frantically hunting for leatherjackets and grubs in our pastures to feed the young. As part of our research we have colour ringed and measured all the starling chicks. Colour ringing allows us to monitor the fate of individually marked birds throughout the remainder of the year.
CropsAll the fertiliser and pesticide applications to the crops are upto date. The wheat and spring beans are looking in good condition and we are hopeful that they will produce decent yields at the end of the season. The oilseed rape is poorer not helped by heavy pigeon grazing in March and April.
Yellow Wagtail trial.In this trial, centred on our set-aside, we are testing alternative management measures to create suitable late-season nesting habitat by manipulation of cereal stubbles. The stubble manipulations include using a contact herbicide, scarifying the soil and sowing a low rate of barley. This trial was initiated following RSPB Research demonstrating that whilst Yellow Wagtails early season nesting attempts were frequently made in winter cereal fields late season nesting became far more difficult as the crop becomes too tall and dense. We will be monitoring how the various manipulations affect the vegetation structure of the stubbles.
Future Open Days.
We will be opening the farm for a number of open days this year so if you would like to visit the farm then please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. The dates are shown below:Farmers Open Days: 21st May, 24th May, Public Open Days: 7th June, 9th July