Weather and the seasons are the theme for this report on the birdlife of the Upper Wood. Above average temperatures made for a warm and sunny mid-summer that helped nesting birds fledge their young in good numbers. I counted a family of eight Blackbirds on the lawn of an Upper Dulwich Wood garden. The adult birds had clearly chosen a good site for their nest, one that could withstand general disturbance from humans whilst protecting the eggs and chicks from cat, grey squirrel and other predators.
August and early September were cooler and wetter, and the small party of Swifts that grace the skies of Upper Dulwich had departed for their winter quarters by mid August. The RSPB are concerned about the steep decline in numbers of these summer visitors and encourage us to support efforts to halt their further decline. Summer would be an unhappier season without them:
Spring comes little, a little. All April it rains.
The new leaves stick in their fists; new ferns still fiddleheads.
But one day the swifts are back. Face to the sun like a child
You shout, 'The swifts are back!'
Sure enough, bolt nocks bow to carry one sky-scyther
Two hundred miles an hour across fullblown windfields.
Swereee swereee. Another. And another.
It's the cut air falling in shrieks on our chimneys and roofs.