A few weeks ago by chance I met the local Swift expert at the church pond. A pair of Swift like birds had arrived but Alison assured me these were Swallows as the Swifts don't arrive until the 8th May.
Low and behold, on my walk this morning a pair of Swifts flew over the allotments.
Swifts make the long journey each year from Africa but their decline is hampered by a lack of nesting sites. I'm trying to work out if I can add a nest box to our house (alongside the sparrows and bluetit boxes!) - have a look at this site for more information : Bristol Swifts. I was interested to learn that there are 3 migrations, they don't all arrive together.
Back in the garden there was pandemonium - so much noise and swooping birds. I stopped to watch and gradually realised that it was the Starlings. I think they may have fledged and the young were resting in the giant Tulip tree next door while the parents were swooping about collecting food on the wing.
When the children were small I enjoyed watching the Starlings stomping across the lawn and taking turns emptying the bird bath: such a racket of squabbling and rivalry. But somewhere along the line we decided the lawn needed to be a lush green sward and the patio could be sprayed to stop the weeds, despite knowing in the back of our minds that this wasn't right. The Daddy Long legs disappeared and along with them the Starlings (although I'm not sure I was all to blame). And even when I stopped spraying, I still thought it was ok to use slug pellets - at least the ones with the wildlife friendly label?
Long story short, I stopped all that when I created a small wildflower meadow outside my new studio in 2014 and gradually I have watched nature reassert itself. Thrushes appeared and I could hear them smashing the snail shells on the path. A lonely Starling murmured one evening but now has a collection of friends. Blackbirds nest in the hedge, scavenging slugs that I throw on the lawn. Last year I had a major blackfly infestation but eventually the ladybirds arrived to sort it out and I'm pleased to see how many have overwintered in my little box balls.
Other sightings today include a Brimstone Butterfly flying through, the Hairy Footed Flower bee (still around and still enjoying the Primroses and Pulmonaria),
The robin has decided that the folded up whirly gig makes a good launching post to survey the lawn for worms so I'm a bit reluctant to hang out the washing. Last week when I was gardening (s)he came down right next to my hand to search for food as I disturbed the ground.
I hope you enjoy what I am sharing. - feel free to comment or get in touch, I love to talk nature and art
If I had known then what I know now
I would have started this diary years ago
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