July in the Forest - Bewdley Town Council, Bewdley
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Bewdley Town Council

July in the Forest

By Bewdley Town Council Bewdley Town Council

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

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This will be the first year since we moved to Uncllys 14 years ago that there will be no House Martins or Swallows nesting here. I’ve done my best: there’s a dustbin lid full of damp mud for their nest-building and the old nesting sites are still there. A few individuals have visited on sunny days, raising my hopes and lifting my spirits as they swoop around the barn and house. The Martins like the gable ends of the house, and have even inspected the remains of old nests there, but nothing has come of it. In the past Swallows have nested in the barn roof and the eaves of the Studio, preferring a more open aspect (as the estate agents might put it).

I wonder what’s going on? ‘Springwatch’ and various websites have mentioned that these migrants have had a peculiar and sporadic arrival this year most probably caused by the long winter and storms. I hope they are making up for lost time somewhere. I miss their busy comings and goings and the little faces of the nestlings looking out for their parents’ returns with beaks full of flies. Did I say, ‘Beaks full of flies’? That may be the answer to the mysterious absence of the swallow family, as insects just don’t seem to be around in large numbers any more. When you come back from a car journey is the front of the car covered in squashed flies? That would have been normal 30 years ago. I suspect this has something to do with the widespread use of insecticides in our gardens and, even more so, in the wider countryside. I see that Chris Packham has been talking to the media about an ‘ecological apocalypse’ creeping up on us in Britain. One of the trends he mentions is the decrease in insects such as moths and crane flies which come in at night through open windows in his home in the New Forest. I’ve noticed the same thing – something must surely be wrong if there are hardly any crane flies in the middle of a National Nature Reserve (and our children don’t know what a ‘Daddy long legs’ is!).

However, I have heard a cuckoo several times this year (perhaps the same one each time), so the ‘Silent Spring’ isn’t quite upon us yet. And there is always hope that something can be done to reverse the evident declines in nearly all of our wildlife: look at the Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly which is increasing in numbers thanks to positive efforts to increase its habitat along forest rides. The Red Kite too is being seen more and more in this locality, continuing its spread through England thanks to reintroductions from the small population in Wales which survived the persecution of less enlightened times.

Linda Iles

(Photo by Rosemary Winnall)

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