Country diary: a swift blast of beetle mania

Raveningham, Norfolk: Soon my yellow shirt is smothered in tiny black dots, and across the field there must be millions of pollen beetles

“Just passionate about life” is how Jake Fiennes, manager at this Yare valley estate, defines his approach to his job. It is also the phrase he uses to dodge my question about whether he’s a farmer or an environmentalist. For him the two are inextricably fused.

After haring across the valley on his tipoff, I find him combining both roles as he contemplates a field of rape. The 10-hectare plot looks commonplace until I log into the cloud of birds swirling overhead. Had I been here earlier I’d have seen 500 but, as it is, many scores of swifts and house martins swarm above the field. Together they cruise down and spire through the top of the crop, threading and rethreading it in an orgy of hunting.

Related: Saving Britain’s swifts – in pictures

Related: Specieswatch: fighting pollen beetles in the margins

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Source: The Guardian
Country diary: a swift blast of beetle mania