Curlews of Martin Top

One Sunday night in June, one of the regulars and I were charmed by a curlew. One flew over the chapel after the service, though we could possibly hear two singing their distinctive call. They like to feed in the mudflats and are therefore classed as wading birds, but they enjoy worms in ploughed fields, which is why they were presumably persuaded to visit landlocked, riverless Middop.

Like Christians, they are a part of our national heritage, even referred to in Langland’s fourteenth-century Piers Plowman (Fissch to lyue in þe flode..Þe corlue by kynde of þe eyre). Also like Christians, their numbers are in decline, as farming practices change and marshlands are drained. According to the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, their numbers have halved in the last 25 years, which is an appalling rate of decline. Should either the curlew or the Christian die out in our land, the nation shall be all the poorer. Gospel light and curlew song help make our country what it is.

Image by dpexcel from Pixabay