Our Patch: Singin’ the Blues
Apologies for my absence over the last few weeks – with it being spring I should have been writing away, but with various lurgies, school holidays, and several bottles of wine to imbibe over Easter, time has got away from me!
[And apologies for being even later publishing it. Oops! – Ed.]
Having been chastised by one of my regular readers this morning I have agreed to ‘get my finger out’ and write about some of the wonderful changes that have been happening recently.
The blue sky seems to give a little cheer, and at this time of year there are many other blue views to discover.The sunshine seems to bring the best out in us Prescotians. Rather than being greeted by a stiff nod and a gruff, mumbled grunt, we wave and say hello and perhaps take a moment to chat (usually about the weather).
One of the most joyful sights of spring has to be a glimpse of blue from afar, broadening on approach into a carpet of exquisite blue bells. These spring flowers which bring us such happiness seem to have some sorrow of their own as they hang their delicate heads in the shade of trees.
There has been little nectar during the last few months, and now, as blossoms and bluebells are opening and sharing their bounty, bees can be heard buzzing busily, and spider’s silk can be felt on my newly emerged legs (well it is 17C!), until now hidden under thermals and cargo pants, now wearing their new milky white costume and desperate for a ray or two!
One of the sweetest wildflowers – and I notice many people around here have decided to allow them to flourish in their gardens – is the forget-me-not.
The beautiful little hardy flowers are such a cheerful sight and seem to thrive in all conditions. Like the bluebells, they provide nectar, and many tiny insects can be seem on and around these little spring beauties.
Each year we have a blackbird’s nest in the garden. These are beautiful, perfectly rounded little bowls and have a clutch of the most beautiful blue eggs inside.
(Blackbird photo: Mike Vass)
They have several broods in a year, but unfortunately, due to their unworldliness, domestic cats and genuine predation, very few make it to adulthood.
When they fledge they seem somehow to be larger than the adults, who run themselves ragged during the springtime. Their demand for food does not abate even when the next clutch is being brooded.
Of course, in accordance with the law of Sod, they have shunned our garden this year and we have no photos at all.
Another prolific and very familiar breeder in our gardens are blue tits. These pleasing (and yes, adorable) little birds are more than happy to take advantage of a well-placed nesting box and so can feel a part of the garden – even a part of the family.
So whilst you have the images of these beautiful wild things in your mind, I’d like to draw your attention to something slightly less aesthetically pleasing.
Much of my rambling other than on Facebook is done in Whiston Woods.
For those of you unfamiliar it is the plot of land, which runs from the railway bridge on Cumber Lane, along to the farmland on Stoney Lane (Rainhill End), and up to the back of Blundells Hill Golf Course.
It intersects with farmland and has a mass of habitats, grass/meadowland, woodland both pine and traditional, ponds, marsh and even a small brook.
It supports many, many species and is regularly used by many, usually for entertaining dogs and children.
Over the last few months, it has become a dumping ground. As far as I can remember there has been a problem with litter here, and in the past many of us walkers could keep on top of it by picking a couple of items up a day and taking them home, but it has now got to the point where we are not making an impact.
We are now faced with increased littering, some of it clearly industrial, and it is not only an eyesore but potentially life-threatening for our wildlife.
I am in contact with the council and MerseyForest, but for when I receive their lacklustre response I’d like to have resurrected the Friends of Whiston Woods and Penny Wood, and wonder if anybody would be interested in donating some time and ideas so that we can keep this wonderful space for generations to come.
Please contact me via the form below if you can help.