House Martins

  • Funny you should mention inspiration, Ann. We were talking yesterday to a young landscape gardener who has started quite an ambitious biodiversity and rewilding project on a small farm he's taken on. And inspiring others was what we, at least, thought that the most likely result of that project might be. A (difficult and demanding) niche, perhaps, for the young man in question; but what a knock-on effect a project like that might have.
    And yup, Tony and Ann's wrens apparently love full composting/garden trash bags, perhaps as much as Tony and Ann love 'their' bluebirds.
  • Dave, Do Tony and Ann have photos of their Wrens nesting in a compost bag? And perhaps you could ask if their Bluebirds return on the same date every year? My guess might be possibly not because of climate change altering the dates of events, unless it is day length, not climate change, which prompts migration. The climate was a bit more stable when my American friends were actively watching their birds, but of course, day length was probably the same as now, changing only with the time of year.

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • Rewilding seems to be growing here in the UK. We have yet to visit it but there is a project which is doing fascinating things somewhere in Sussex, if I remember rightly. It is on the list to visit. Seems to be a controversial subject as some people seem to think it is an idiotic thing to do. If you come across the young man again it would be interesting to hear occasional reports here on the Forum, but possibly on a new thread!
    Apologies for hi-jacking your Martin thread with other topics, Firecrest!

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • Not at all Ann, very interesting stuff.
  • Martins will return to the thread, Ann (like they returned to Firecrest's place). They're life's great returners.

    I'll shoot an e-mail off to Tony now and ask those two questions. And will post answers (and photos if available) in separate threads.

    Re Mr. Steiner's (I do love a good Swiss name) project, I'll keep in touch with him and---unless other users or the RSPB object---start a new thread with updates.

    Re Sussex, could you be thinking of the project at Knepp in West Sussex? It's the subject of Isabella Tree's Wilding (Picador, 2018). I bought it last time I was in the UK but am currently busy reading John Lewis-Stempel's Meadowland. I mentioned the Knepp project to Eric (Mr. Steiner) yesterday; he was very interested.

    In fact, his project probably merits a thread of its own (based only on a quick conversation over coffee yesterday; any gardener that uses the word 'indigenous' must be worth his salt...)

  • Re dates, we've personally seen very few date changes these last few years, and have it on good authority that, for example, Black Kites have been arriving and leaving pretty much on the same day for, well, decades.

    But while our, for example, first Cuckoo of 2019 was just one day different to our first Cuckoo of 2018, we are seeing (and that's not a count, of course; purely anecdotal) quite a shocking drop in numbers.

    Our Mr. Steiner says that Cuckoos are now pretty much an unknown in many parts of western Switzerland, something that he puts down to changes in farming practices.

    Older neighbours have experienced the same thing with Crossbills, among others.

  • Thanks, Firecrest.
    Dave, Interesting stuff. If you start any new threads, please could you let us know on this thread; I'm overwhelmed with notifications at present which leaves little time to check for new threads. The problem began when we began house hunting after Christmas and I'm slowly catching up. As for Mr Steiner, it would be great to keep up with his project. And if he is Swiss, his name points to his heritage being from the German-speaking population of Switzerland as Steiner is a German name.

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • You're right Ann, he's actually from the bilingual (although that's a story in itself) Jura Bernois, but it is a German name. My partner's a Maurer, with origins between Seeland and the pre-Alps. Something reassuring about those names.

    And yes, I'll post here (thank you Firecrest) when I start those new threads.

    Househunting. I sympathise. We've just bought and will be moving in a few weeks. Hard to keep up with anything when househunting and moving are involved. Breath deeply is my advice. Breath deeply and watch the swallows.
  • At least a couple more martins arrived late last week. Up to at least 10 in the immediate vicinity. They are having ongoing issues with house sparrows though.....
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Dave, One of my great grandfathers was from several miles outside of Basel.

    Kind regards, 

    Ann