Good news and bad news


The good news is that our monthly electricity bill has gone down. Since a man came to read our meter last week, I have had an email to say we are not using as much electricity as they thought. We have been reading our meter every month and I recorded online, but perhaps they didn’t believe me.

The bad news is that the spotted flycatcher has not returned. I saw him about two weeks ago, using the back of our garden chair as a perch, he flew up to his old nest, from last year, in my climbing rose. Then he disappeared. I wondered if he had gone to find a mate or perhaps our climbing rose was just not good enough this year. I keep watching but the back of the chair is empty. We have no swallows nesting in our little cow shed and now no spotted flycatchers in the rose.

To be sure of seeing some birds we have been to a nature reserve just over the border near Welshpool. There is a large lake made from a gravel pit when the bypass was created and here, we have watched swans, cormorants, gulls and little white egrets. This week I saw baby moorhens hiding in the reeds bobbling like corks in the water. Their parents came right up to the hide window to get food from the foliage for their young. Another favourite haunt is Venus Pool south of Shrewsbury, where I watched a heron standing in the shallows seemingly staring at his reflection, but his eyes were on the little fish that were darting between his feet. Wildlife is thriving there.

The ash tree in the garden over the road is not thriving though. Last year it did not have many leaves and there were bare twigs at the crown. This year there are a lot of dead branches. It is ash die back which is caused by a fungus and the spores are spread by the wind. I am worried as we have two very old ash trees and I am wondering if they will be affected. One of the trees has wide spreading branches which seem to hold our garden in its arms. It is always late coming into leaf and for no scientific reason I am hoping that this helps. It is well over 100 years old and would have been growing in WW1.

I have a bonsai ash tree that I have grown from a winged seed. It is only about as tall as a trowel, but it is forty years old. Sometimes there is good news and sometimes bad and I cannot do anything about it.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

A moorhen looking for food for her young which hide in the reeds

Can my little bonsai ash survive?


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