It’s one thing to know these summer migrants have arrived and found a good place to live and feed for the season. It’s another to know they are breeding successfully at A Rocha UK’s rural nature reserve, Foxearth Meadows. The good news is that they are!
Keen photographer and nature lover, Albert Butcher has taken time to wait with his camera within range of the reed beds and has captured images of reed warbler young being fed by the adult birds. They are nearly fully grown but still have the gaping beaks of young birds eager for the transfer of food.
Less than three or four months and these youngsters will embark on their first big journey. The sleek little brown birds are big travellers, setting off in late summer for Africa via stop-offs maybe in Europe and then returning in the spring. As someone who lived for the first six years of my life in Africa, and lived there again for several years in my 20’s, I feel a bit of an affinity!
I’m filled with awe at these amazing journeys made by such small creatures. How birds migrate isn’t yet fully understood. A sense of time, distance, and direction … how do these work? Magnetic fields, solar and stellar navigation, sight and smell … all could play a part. And is it instinctive or learned behaviour? In the case of some species, where the young precede the experienced birds when they take off on their first migration, it clearly can’t be the latter. The endurance of these little creatures is awesome too, and the fuel efficiency.
As well as excitement at seeing them arrive and breed successfully, I find myself with food for thought. These little birds traverse half the globe. I am reminded how globally interconnected we all are – as part of a human family, and the Bible is very strong on this: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28). We are also part of nature as a whole, and the Bible speaks of that too: “God was pleased … through him (Jesus) to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:19, 20).
We hope you are able to visit Foxearth Meadows soon, please remember to keep the reserve including volunteers, visitors and conservation work in your prayers.
Thank you to Andy Jowitt, A Rocha UK’s Volunteer Community Engagement Officer at Foxearth Meadows, and regular Foxearth Meadows visitor, Albert Butcher, for this summer update from A Rocha UK’s rural nature reserve.