Pockets of joy


“Sit still and be quiet.” How many times were we told to do this as a child? I never did of course I was much too busy learning about life. But these days I do sit still and listen and watch, it is surprising what is going on.

Looking through the kitchen window I can see my mop head bay tree. It has a blackbirds’ nest hidden inside. But last week I forgot it was there and walked about trying to place a little nesting pocket, for a robin or a wren, in the climber behind. I inadvertently tripped and fell on to the bay tree. The indignant blackbird had been quietly sitting on its nest when I lumbered in. The bird left with a loud alarm call in fright.

Would it desert now this may not be a safe place to rear young? I kept well away and silently watched from a distance. She returned with a quick swoop and she was back on her nest. Today if I sit still and do not move, I can see the black male and brown female visiting with worms in their beaks. You must not look at them directly though or they will not visit. I pretend to be looking away and then I see the parents, in turn, land on the stone nearby then fly onto a log. They look around and quick as a flash dart under the clipped dome and into their nest full of hungry fledglings.

There is double joy now because a male wren has started to build in my little woven twig pocket. He makes several nests for his partner to inspect so I have seen him going in and out placing his nesting material with care. She might choose to make it a home for her young if the fitments and furnishings are to her liking, not forgetting the location which must be in a good neighbourhood!

Have you seen that the honesty flowers are out now? Ours is a dark purple and grows in shady places. Also, on wet land nearby you might see the delicate ladies’ smock with its pale pink flowers. If you have these then any time now you could see the orange tip butterfly because these plants’ leaves will be food for its caterpillars.

And it is about this time I usually see the heron. Last year it caught some of our fish but this year we have netted the pond. It was only yesterday that Mr T wanted to take the net off, but I wanted to wait, then sure enough I saw the heron fly over. It is an expert at watching and waiting.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)



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