A 'Silent Spring' already?

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Monika
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A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby Monika » Wed May 25, 2016 5:04 pm

Many of you will be familiar with Rachel Carson's 1960's book 'Silent Spring', envisaging the natural world messed up by humans. I am seriously worried this year by the greatly reduced number of insects and consequently, and most noticeably, the low numbers of swallows, swifts and bats (house martins albeit disappeared from the village a number of years ago).
How are your insects doing?
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oldherbaceous
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby oldherbaceous » Wed May 25, 2016 5:18 pm

Dear Monika, there seem to be a lot of Bee's and Wasp's about but, the Swallows that appeared at Cook's stable about a month ago, have now gone.
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Wed May 25, 2016 6:26 pm

I've seen 4 swifts about 25 house martins and a small number of swallows. My son has heard a cuckoo in two separate locations. This is a fraction of the numbers there were a few years ago. I've seen two pipistrelle bats over the garden this week.

As for insects, there are numerous varieties of bumble bees, hive bees and mason bees, and quite a few wasps. There have been a few different kinds of moths when it was warm last week and small swarms of midges. The gooseberry saw fly has been busy laying eggs and I've removed a lot of the caterpillars.

The long wriggly yellow centipedes are doing very well, as are the normal brown ones and there are hundreds of the pink woodlice in the compost heap. One insect that seems to have vanished from the garden is the black clock beetle. We used to see them every time we went in the garden and the devils coach horse beetle. I can't remember when I last saw one.

One good thing this week, a hedgehog has been visiting every night. It is the first one I've seen in the garden since the bad winter of 2010.
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby Motherwoman » Wed May 25, 2016 6:30 pm

We have swallows passing through, and plenty of small birds rummaging in the garden. The bees were crowding out the crab apple so that was good. Having a pond helps for insects, we have long sloping margins with lots of foliage and the birds visit it a lot.

We did hear a cuckoo, at 4am the pair of us were leaning out the bedroom window as it was the first one, we were getting worried.

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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby Pa Snip » Thu May 26, 2016 6:13 am

Motherwoman wrote:
at 4am the pair of us were leaning out the bedroom window as it was the first one, we were getting worried.

Motherwoman


Neighbours thought they were cuckoo.
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby Pawty » Thu May 26, 2016 6:30 am

We live on the outskirts of a town now, but both my husband and I grew up in very rural locations where we took nature for granted! Get very excited about any birds and insects now....

Heard the first cuckoo a couple of weeks ago, owls in the night, more gold finches than ever, red kite, sparrows galore, white throat and just starting to see swallows...

Lots of Bees, no wasps :D , red ants galore :(, butterfly eggs on my kale :x , loads of big beetles and spiders.

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dan3008
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby dan3008 » Thu May 26, 2016 7:58 am

Ah, now I've gone and ordered a copy, since I've not read it
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby robo » Thu May 26, 2016 8:26 am

My wife watched a startling trying to feed nine fledglings in our garden last week ,seems a lot for one bird
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby Pa Snip » Thu May 26, 2016 8:30 am

robo wrote:My wife watched a startling trying to feed nine fledglings in our garden last week ,seems a lot for one bird



I was told on Tuesday that starlings will feed other starlings young, not just their own
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby robo » Thu May 26, 2016 11:02 am

That may be it I thought that a cat had killed the mother of some of them and they where joining in the feeding with another brood
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby PLUMPUDDING » Sun May 29, 2016 8:47 am

You're right about starlings forming a creche. 15 have just done a raid on my feeders - 13 young ones supervised by two adults. The adults fed two of the very young ones and just kept an eye on the others, then they all panicked and flew off.
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Monika
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby Monika » Sun May 29, 2016 9:44 pm

I am glad that not "all is lost", judging from the replies. Perhaps I am too pessimistic, but when we moved here 35 years ago, there were swifts, swallows and house martins galore and every summer evening bats swarmed round the house, occasionally swooping quite low over our heads. We still see all these species (and plenty of other birds, including the cuckoo which arrived here on 8 May) and the surroundings are now probably more wildlife friendly than ever, including our garden and the 2 acre village nature reserve in front of us. We also have no arable fields anywhere near us, so no spraying going on, but it's just that the numbers of insects that have definitely dropped.
Do you remember the car windscreen being spattered with dead insects after a summer evening drive? Well, that does not seem to happen any more. Or, when you left a window open with the lights on, daddy longlegs, moths and midges immediately invaded the room. Again, that is happening less and less.
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Re: A 'Silent Spring' already?

Postby Westi » Mon May 30, 2016 6:47 pm

Spent an hour or so watching the Sand Martins along the cliffs around Barton on Sea & Milford on Sea this afternoon. We started at the car park the furtherest away from home and moved down toward home until the cliffs dropped away to just beach! Seemed a healthy population but boy can they move fast, impossible to keep up with them with the binoculars so just had to watch their antics from afar!

Like the way they do circuits then dive down over the edge to their nests, at one spot we were obviously the turning point and and got a feel for their timing be able to judge when they came back up over the cliff pretty accurately. We have Stanpit Marsh just a couple of blocks, near us and the twitchers are saying the migrating birds are down in numbers this year. I can vouch the biting insects are down in number too, so obvious link there I think.

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