Monday, 6 June 2011
Over the reserve ravens and buzzards are usual and the display of flowers and butterflies are very good. There is only a coffee machine (good coffee!) on the reserve and a well packed picnic will be very useful.
Closer to home in Leicestershire the number of cuckoos seems to be increasing with birds at Swithland reservoir and Mountsorrel meadows, good numbers of whitethroat and lesser whitethroat are breeding all over the countryside. It seems that swallows are exploiting the A6 bypass bridges to nest and quite a colony has built up under the Mountsorrel canal bridge with at least 2 pairs.
I am not seeing many House martins and expect a poor breeding season, while turtle dove seem only a memory in Leicestershire, as far as I am concerned. Having spent many hours walking and looking for them in places they used to be common, a realisation of how their fortunes have changed in the last 25 years, is obvious. Perhaps if the EU can enforce Malta and other countries to follow the law and stop shooting so many they may have a chance, especially if we can make our countryside more welcoming, otherwise they will be gone forever.
The turtle dove is perhaps the most emblematic bird of the English countryside and to lose it will make all our lives poorer. To understand how common it was in our past the writings of the poet John Clare demonstrate and an English summer without their purring is not an English summer!