Harvest Service

The Parish Harvest Service will take place at 11am on 4th October. The
speaker will be the Newpark School Chaplain, the Revd Suzanne Harris.
Shakespeare popularised Aristotle’s expression “One swallow does not a
summer make” (although even this probably pre-dates him in a poem by
Aesop three centuries earlier): an early sighting of a spring swallow does
not mean that summer weather has arrived, as bitter northerly winds can
plunge us back to winter temperatures. Cold, wet springs delay the onset
of breeding, as flying insects are not available.
Swallow, swift and martin numbers have reduced dramatically over the
past few decades, due to declining populations of insects. Agricultural
intensification has resulted in more insecticides being used and less field
margins and wild areas. Gentrification of urban areas reduces wildflowers
still further. There is then less food for insects and thus less food for
swallows, martins and swifts.
Good numbers still do occur in places, e.g. near horses (dung provides
food for insects, provides food for birds). We can all help though – sow a
patch of wildflower meadow and you will be rewarded with a riot of colour
and a lovely humming of bees, hoverflies and a host of other insect
species. Short cut lawns have their place, but leaving some areas uncut
reaps dividends for wildlife. Aristotle and Aesop would be saddened by
the paucity of swallows today.