A silent warning


I am still looking up into the sky. My hope is to see swallows or house martins, but I have not seen anything. There has been warm blue sky and plenty of little flying insects but no birds flying high to catch them. Also, we normally have swifts screaming around the house at this time, but the skies are silent.

I remember reading the book called The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson which she wrote in 1962. In those carefree heady days her warnings of the birds not singing in the spring seemed improbable. She wrote about the part humans play in the care of the environment. I think now that we should have listened to her warnings sooner. There have been big changes in our wildlife.

Another change, not on an environmental one, but a big switch non-the-less, is to the landlines. Our landline phone has broken. It rings but when one of us picks it up it keeps on ringing. So, we have decided to do without it. In any case they are due to be replaced by digital calls using the internet in the next few years. But it is quite a difficult task to make sure that everyone knows our mobile number. We still have some time to go on our old contract so we can always go back if we want.

Getting the birds back will not be so easy. I can remember only a few years ago when the swallows raced ahead of me on my bike swooping down the lane catching flies. There are lots of farms near us and the swallows nested in the plentiful open sheds. Where are they now? They are not here.

Something that is here though is the solitary bee – or rather bees as there are quite a few of them. Some years ago, Mr T bought me a ‘house’ for solitary bees, we put it up in the orchard. It is about the size of half a shoe box with sixteen little entrance holes for the bees. But they did not use it, perhaps because it was in the shade. Then we moved it to the sunny cowshed wall and here they are each with its own little compartment. I sit and watch as the female comes to lay her eggs and leave pollen and nectar for when they hatch next year. I watch her as she seals the entrance. So far six of the ‘apartments ‘are taken.

More very good news from this morning is that through our bedroom window I see that two house martins have turned up and are nest-building under the eaves of the house over the road.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

One solitary bee found a hole in the brickwork of our cow shed and laid her eggs there.


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