Eco church diaries: April 2021

This month, St Michael's eco church is taking action for insects and delighting in the activity of spring birds.

The sound of birdsong fills the spring air at St Michael’s with robins, wrens and the occasional nuthatch with its cheerful low pitched-notes.

Unfortunately, since the recent opening of a well-known fast food outlet close by, litter has increased on the churchyard steps and, to address this ongoing problem, litter picks are organised regularly. Despite this, the carpet of wildflowers is blooming with early bluebells, forget-me-nots and lesser celandines (William Wordsworth’s favourite flower).  In addition, we have gathered logs and twigs into a pile by a quiet and shady spot, hopefully to attract beetles and other insects as an inviting home.

A pile of sticks left to shelter beetles at St Michael's eco church in Bolton

Log piles make excellent habitats for insects, amphibians and hedgehogs

But not all the action is on the ground.  Overhead, two sparrowhawks were mobbed by a mistle thrush this morning as it boldly defended its territory. Furthermore, the brilliant owl boxes are now up in the trees thank to the efforts of local volunteers.

Misty the whippet helping to measure the trunk of a sycamore at St Michael's eco church

Misty the whippet helps to age a sycamore

Talking of trees, we decided to measure the circumference of a giant sycamore with the help of Misty the whippet! It was found to be 400cm which, when divided by 2.75, gives the age as approximately 145 years old. As a seedling the tree would have seen Queen Victoria on the throne and the newly-opened Bolton Town Hall in 1873.

On a related note, sycamore seeds tend to be known as 'spinning jennies' in this area after the eponymous cotton spinning machine.

Join us next month when we hope to update you on the pond life in the grounds of the adjacent primary school.