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KEEPING YOU IN TOUCH - YOUR FREE MONTHLY NEWSPAPER DELIVERED DOOR-TO-DOOR FOR 31 YEARS CURLEW - JACK FORRESTER


One of the main indicators that spring and summer have finally arrived is the unmistakable call of the curlew. It’s up there for me as one of the most beautiful sounds of the countryside. Identified by their long legs and downward-curved bill, they sport a feather pattern with a mix of grey and brown. They are usually found in wet grasslands and moorlands.


Curlew feed in soft and muddy ground, searching by digging around with their long bills. These bills have evolved to act as a pair of tweezers, probing and prodding for worms and other grubs. The bill is reinforced by structures within to prevent it from snapping. However, this does have its downsides as the curlew is unable to stick its tongue down its bill to help entrap and swallow its prey. To counter this, it catches and flings its victim into the air, to slide down its gullet effortlessly.


Due to predominantly spending their lives in shallow waters, the curlew is part of a group of birds known as waders. Throughout winter, they can be found around the UK coastline. When spring arrives and throughout the summer, these


(IUCN) status is currently set at ‘near threatened’.


Curlew © Amy Lewis


birds will move further inland looking for suitable breeding grounds in meadows and marshes.


However, these habitats have been reduced over the years. This has subsequently led to a decline in breeding populations within the UK. It is estimated that between 1995 and 2008 there was a decline of around 42% of breeding pairs. This is a similar story, repeated throughout the world where curlew are found. Their International Union for Conservation of Nature


There are a number of different causes for the sharp decline in the curlew population, one of which is the intensification of farming around their usual habitat. Additionally, afforestation in moorlands is also considered a factor, as well as the increasing populations of predators. Luckily though, it is not all doom and gloom, as groups including the Wildlife Trusts are working with farmers to create and promote wildlife-friendly agricultural practices. Additionally, these groups are working to create a living landscape where habitats and wildlife are connected in


networks throughout the country, for their and our benefit.


The curlew is an integral part of the British countryside. It has inspired great poets like Dylan Thomas and WB Yeats and has been my own personal pointer to the seasons changing year in and out and will hopefully, continue to do so for many more years to come.


With over 20 Years Experience in the Landscaping Industry


Covering all aspects of garden works large and small, hard or soft


Bespoke Garden Design Service


Flagging, Fencing, Turfing Tree Pruning and Felling


Annual Hedge Trimming and Shaping


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Call or email 07711 897 183 017687 76535


dreamslandscapes@yahoo.com INFO@THECOCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK


No work too small - just call! ISSUE 427 | 19 JULY 2018 | 52


Full Garden Clearance or just Shed Clearance Patio and Driveway Jet Washing Regular Garden Maintenance


Weekly/Fortnightly Lawn Care and Mowing Winter Gritting and Snow Clearance Programme


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