I’ve been noting all the various birds in and around the fields. We are placed higher up than on the cliff and lower fields and we tend not to have the bird song that you notice when you head down to the cliff. In the morning if you want to catch the snail mail before the collection you have to walk through the fields first thing to the postbox and you can catch the dawn chorus in the field which has many trees. Our field doesn’t have trees, only hedgerows and we get birds that are mainly ground dwellers including two Wheatears. We have been wondering what they were for a while; the binoculars came out and we filled in an RSPB identifier as best we could, but to no avail, until our neighbour told me they were Wheatears, and sure enough they tick all the boxes. The photo above is by Graham Parry I am afraid I couldn’t do justice.
Since the spring we’ve had a large amount of swallows around, they seem to spend their days sitting on the wires above the back lane side by side with the resident buzzard and their evenings swooping around the chalets. They are still here but will soon be gone. During the last month in the garden we’ve also seen eight house sparrows together in a row on the fence with three robins and a wren.
But the one thing I haven’t heard with such regularity this year is the skylark; when we moved here in 2011 we could hear them all through the summer and we played the game of who could spot it above us first. This year, apart from in early summer, their song has declined and I read in this week’s ‘State of Nature’ report that ‘41% of species have decreased in abundance,‘. Intensification of farming and pollution from fertiliser is one of the reasons but here, in these fields, in front of our chalet, the land is left for life stock to graze and so not overly farmed at all … which only makes it worse.
Next Saturday I am heading down the road to Bodmin to perform The Secret Listener at the Regimental Museum in the afternoon and the Old Library in the evening. A show about a voluntary interceptor who listened in to German radio frequencies during WW2 and, at the Regimental Museum, there is a Spy HQ exhibition that tells you more about the secret world of morse code, so there’s an additional ‘extra’ if you like, alongside the performance.