Photo by David Moreton
As the month of May began, I eagerly awaited their arrival. It had been almost ten months since I last saw them and as I was busy weeding in the garden one beautiful day, I knew they had arrived because I heard them. I looked up to the sky but the sun was so bright, I couldn’t see them. It didn’t worry me as I knew they would be here for the next couple of months.
I am writing about my favourite bird. It doesn’t have the bright red breast of a Robin nor does it have the bright yellow wing feathers of a Goldfinch. It doesn’t have the vibrant and colourful plumage of any tropical birds I have ever seen. It is just plain brown, but oh, what a bird!
It was only a couple of days soon after I had heard them that I actually saw them flying above me. I can never tire of watching them as they tear through the sky so effortlessly and the noise they make gives me goose bumps. That screaming is wonderful to hear. I am, of course, referring to the Common Swift.
I am reminded of a magical experience I had when emerging from Ploughman Wood one day. I had just gone through the gate which entered the large field overlooking the village and in the field before me were hundreds of Swifts catching insects after a tractor had shortly finished ploughing. Like a lot of birdwatching, my timing was just right. The plough had disturbed insects from the soil and they were there for the picking. I ventured a few yards in to the ploughed field and sat on a huge clod of earth. The Swifts completely surrounded me. I was sitting amongst a sea of hundreds of Swifts. I sat mesmerised as they flew in front, behind and above me, avoiding me completely. I will never forget that moment, it was mind blowing.
We are very fortunate to have Swifts nesting in our village because some of the older houses on Main Street have nesting sites suitable for them. Modern housing with its UPVC soffits and fascias has no place for a Swift. They need old tiles to creep under and rear their young. It is possible to purchase special Swift boxes in the hope the birds will use them. Some people do this and also play a recording of screaming Swifts in the added hope of encouraging them. I believe some of them work. It is also worth mentioning that Swifts do not make a mess beneath them like other birds.
As Swifts are declining in numbers we need to make planning departments of local councils aware of the situation. Developers and builders also need to take this on board. If they make provision for nest boxes in new houses and other buildings, perhaps we can reverse this downward trend. I would hate to think that one summer our Swifts will never return. How silent it would be walking along Main Street and not seeing these marvellous birds winging and screaming along their way over the rooftops.
For more information about Swifts and how you can help them visit www.swift-conservation.org
Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife which visit your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you. If you would like a free information pack about the scheme, contact Jean at email@example.com or visit www.bto.org/gbw
Salmon & Trout Conservation UK & Colwick Fly Fishing Club
Game Anglers for Fish People and the Environment
Junior Trout Fishing for Boys & Girls Aged 9 - 18 years,
Sat May 27th and Sat June 24th
9-30am - 4-30 pm
AT COLWICK COUNTRY PARK
RIVER ROAD NOTTINGHAM NG4 2DV
Learn to cast a fly rod, tie a fly & hopefully catch a trout. Professional tuition from Mick Huffs NAC quatified instructor in fly casting and fly tying.
Cost £10 per person each day - Includes barbecue lunch, all drinks, also junior membership to Colwick Fly Fishing CIub until May 2018.
Mollie Smith 0115 9528072
Rosemary Gunn 07702 313213
WOODBOROUGH FEAST SPORTS
A big Thank You to all who attended the coffee morning, and for the kind donations of cakes and prizes and to all who helped on the day.
All funds raised will be used to support Feast Sports 2017 which will be on the 8th July starting at 14.30 (make a note on your calendar)
This is a very old Woodborough Village traditional event we do need your support to make this a success.
Woodborough Feast Sports Committee
See the chiropodist on
Tuesday 13th June
from 8.30am to 11.30am,
in the Institute, Roe Lane, Woodborough.
St. Swithun’s Church Bell Ringers
We are pleased to have established regular Sunday service ringing, though only on four of our six bells. This included the fourth Sunday in April when there was no service, so we rang for St. George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday instead, joining many other churches in this celebration. On May 21st we welcomed Bishop Paul to the Deanery Confirmation service helped by two Oxton ringers.
Both our learners have made further good progress and are ringing at practice sessions with a full band of six. Our practices take place on Thursday evenings from 7.15pm to 8.45pm and anyone interested in learning more about bell ringing is most welcome to drop in and see what is involved. Please just give me a call beforehand to let me know you intend coming. My phone numbers are below.
In June, we will be unable to ring for the first Sunday because of ringers’ holidays; but we shall be back for June 11th to mark the centenary of the death of Sidney Richardson in our series to Remember the Great War and the people lost from Woodborough during that conflict. There will be another soldier, Percy Shipstone, to remember on the following Sunday, June 18th. Both soldier’s stories are included in this month’s Woodborough Web.
Please contact me if you are interested in learning to ring as we need more helpers to cover our six bells. Initial tuition is given at personal sessions to achieve rapid progress and will be arranged at mutually convenient times.
Stephen Smith, Tower Captain.
0115 9654426 or 07817 979390