Fame indeed - a mention in The Archers!



Fame at last for the little brown bird from Africa nesting in our climbing rose! It got a mention in The Archers. It was Phoebe talking about her new campsite for her re-wilding project.

‘I’m not sure I’d recognise a spotted flycatcher,’ said Phoebe. Not a very positive mention, perhaps, but a mention non-the-less.

There are two reasons we do not know about this bird. The first reason is that it is now rare, and the second reason is that if you saw it, you could be forgiven for thinking that it is a sparrow. And yet, here, at home, a pair have nested again in our climbing rose, and the young have just hatched. The parents are going backwards and forwards with creatures to fill the mouths of their ever-hungry nestlings. There are lots of flies in our garden for them.

Do you remember when you had to clean your car windscreen and the front lights because of the huge numbers of flies that stuck there as you drove? They are not there now, and perhaps that is why the flycatcher is rare. It needs those flies.

June is a crucial month for birds. Young birds are hatching everywhere and hiding in the shrubs and undergrowth shouting for food from their parents (what else is new?). The blackbirds that nested in the gutter have survived! There was no rain to speak of whilst they were incubating and none when they were nestlings. The only thing they had to survive was the blistering sun under the plastic roof of our shed. All four fledged yesterday and three of them flew haltingly to the woodland. One got confused and ended up in our tool shed for a few hours before he realised his mistake.

A pair of goldfinches are now building again in our jasmine at the back door. They do not seem to be concerned about our comings and goings nor have they been put off by the pruning that needed doing. They were first to the climbing rose and successfully reared a brood, but they were under constant attack from the flycatchers and so this time round have decided to move house. They are not smooth operators; they seem to fuss and twitter in indecision. But their nest is taking shape, free from the hassle of the flycatchers.

Our own long hoped for freedom did not come this week when we thought it would. We must still endure restrictions for another few weeks. What a disappointment it has been, but we plod on because that is what we must do. The consolation is that we can still watch all the wildlife; it can come and go as it pleases.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

The fledgling blackbird from the nest in the gutter took the wrong turning and ended up on a snow shovel in the tool shed


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