It's a bit like Sleeping Beauty rousing from her slumber .. I was so captivated by the Olympics (and will soon be an armchair expert in Paralympic sports too) that I had failed to notice, time had passed.
Our garden birds, flitting busily around feeding their young, have completed their short-lived intensive parenting period. That means they've entered meltdown and effectively vanished. Where have all the garden birds gone? They're far less obvious at this time of year.
It's the lull between the exhausting period of new parenthood and the coming survival marathon that will be winter. It's their time of rest and plenty. I suppose this perceived scarcity of blackbirds, sparrows and the like is deepened by the departure of swifts and other summer migrants; for they have gone (sigh). The good news is that, like The Terminator, they'll be back.
Which brings to mind Boris Johnson; the Air-Terminal-ator. Everytime this bright idea of a new airport teriminal in the Thames Estuary comes up, planners and developers suffer from a strange form of amnesia and everyone else has to step-up to perform a familiar old dance to the ragtime tune of 'been there, discounted that'.
Let's consider threeof the salient points:
Forget any commitments to reduce CO2 emissions; the frequent fog blankets; irreplaceable habitats unique in scale and importance in Europe; the hundreds of thousands of migratory birds that will pose a threat to jets; or the irreversible damage to both the landscape and the river.
Why is it that like those garden birds, it's when they're gone that we want them most. We haven't yet lost the Thames Estuary. Why not use this Bank Holiday to re-discover its majesty, its diversity, its unexpected riches and its contrasts. It's part of our national pysche and we'd all be far poorer if it was scarred by any development of the scale and impact of those proposed by Johnson and Foster.
Tim, You write a good blog and I know there's a lot to put right. I visited the O2 dome the other week to use the ski lift across the Thames. Whilst in the queue for tickets: low and behold a greenfinch singing in the newly planted tree above the nearby crowds of tourists, brilliant.
Being an East-Ender and now an Essex boy, I visit Rainham Marshes (RSPB), the new Thurrock Thameside visitor centre WWT and RSPB new marsh, Wat Tyler park, Canvey Marshes and the river Lee nature reserves, its brilliant and uplifting to see what's going on.
The population is waking up slowly, the birds need help and everybody realises this.
Keep the blogs coming.