Friday, 19 September 2008

Birds and bees

A couple of weeks ago, I heard someone on BBC Radio 4 mention that birds are migrating early this year and that it’s something to do with global warming. The very same day, just before dusk, what looked like thousands of starlings flitted from roof to roof along the River Thames. They must be rather confused now that summer seems to have finally arrived - just a few months late, ("Come back Peter, come back Paul!" as the nursery rhyme goes...) Sadly, I haven’t seen my friendly goldfinch for about a week or so either – not sure what has happened to him. Do finches migrate too?

Talking of which, at ShopCurious we’ve an original vintage silk scarf in the palest of eau-de-nil greens with beautifully handpainted finches. This is something that combines tradition, heritage and an individual sense of quirkiness and is likely to appeal if you appreciate truly unique accessories. It would also make a lovely and rather unusual gift – suitable for young chicks and old birds alike.

As for the bees, apparently they’re also disappearing fast. Bee keepers have been up in arms and Defra has been called upon to launch some investigative research into diseases affecting bees. However, it may actually be(e?) a combination of stress and a mystery virus that is causing honey bees to die or disappear abruptly, due to something called ‘colony collapse disorder’. It’s all very important as bees don’t just make honey, they also pollinate plants and so are directly responsible for a large part of our agricultural production and much of the food (at least fruit and veg) that we eat.

Oddly enough, this year I’ve noticed loads more bees and lots fewer wasps. That’s probably as a result of having what looks like half of Kew Gardens palm house on my terrace. Thankfully, since last year, the bees now seem to have realized that the carpet in my bedroom isn’t honeycomb, though the design does look remarkably similar.

I’ve also been on the look out for curious insects. I heard that blue butterflies are on the wane, but I did spot one or two in Norfolk this summer, along with these beautifully colourful creatures that I believe – with the help of my insect book – are some sort of burnet moth?

These pictures were taken near the Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve – a veritable haven for birds and bees. The latest buzz is that this is one of the areas that the Government is going to allow to be naturally inundated as the sea level rises, rather than providing additional funding for improvements to flood defenses.

Has anyone who knows more about this (perhaps a person of influence) got a dicky-bird to say?

Do you?

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