We've been delighted by the frequent visits of a wren to our garden this winter. Today, Valentine's day, there were two, let romance be unbounded!
One kept to the usual routine of sneaking in and out of the ivy leaves. The other landed onto the shed roof and after an anxious stretch up to look about dashed like Speedy Gonzales across the roofing felt. The next second it had squeezed itself through a gap at the top of the door and popped into the shed. Fearing that it might bash itself on the glass, I prepared myself to go down and open the door to release it. The fear was unfounded as it became clear that the little troglodyte was on a mission, busily inspecting spider's webs for tit bits. Eventually our guest left via a hole at the base of the door - in through the top, out through the bottom.
Hopefully during this shopping trip it also made note of a few snug places to set up a nest for the summer.
It wasn't really a new year's resolution, more a notion to look more at what's on the doorstep. It's surprising what is stowed in the too-mundane-to-bother-with file, that really shouldn't be. Many gems are routinely passed-by in the car on the way to what are thought to be more exotic locations further afield.
Out of this thinking (yes, I know, me think? It's just not natural)came a list of subjects that I really ought to get to know better. Some natural, some man-made. Included among the ever-growing list of things to do are birds, mostly common species and a few less so.
Getting to know some of the birds better will be achieved by simply sticking my nose to the window and watching what goes on in the garden. And others by wandering out along the local lanes and seeing what's what.
Two for starters; the good old wren and the common old buzzard.
I've overlooked wren's as a subject for far too long, it might have something to do with the fact that they can be a nightmare to untangle from mist-nets when bird-ringing and have attained a nuisance status in my tiny brain because of this. However, if one visits our garden I now take the chance to watch and paint it, the more I see of them the more fascinating they have become for me.
We found the buzzard about three hundred yards from our house, during a birthday boy stroll this weekend. Normally we see them soaring over the house (an unusual sight in itself a few years past). Discovering one perched on fenceposts that enclosed a horsefield was too good an opportunity to miss. As we watched, it became clear that is wasn't resting, but hunting. Every so often the buzzard flew down to the horse-cropped turf, then back to a post. It wasn't clear if these lunges were successful as we didn't see it returning with any prey in it's talons. But, it was clearly going for any worms drawn to the surface by the heavy plodding of the horses and was using the posts as a vantage point to watch for any movement. I knew that worms and beetles were a big part of a buzzard's diet, but it was the first time I had seen one observing the actions of another beast to inadvertently aid them in catching their lunch.
So normal blog service is nearly resumed, though I still have the odd dream about Orcs. Ranting may return.
There was enough rain during the week to encourage us to nip over to the river this morning and check out the Sea Trout situation. The air was crisp and a wonderful frost lay settled on the seed-heads of the umbellifers and thistles. The water levels were higher on the weir, but no fish were running it. We explored the over-hanging banks, discovering that there were still a few fair-sized Trout waiting in the dark shallows, some showing the scars of failed weir jumping and one sadly demised - we hoped that it had died after the final act of mating. When we arrived at the river, Rosie had seen a Little Egret flush from where the dead fish was and had probably been feeding on the body - I guess that Egrets must be our equivalent of the North American Grizzlies!
Also among the tangle of roots that draped into the water,
a Wren made its way quietly through the deep shadows - time to paint!
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