The lottery of spring



I knew that something was wrong as soon as we arrived home. I filled the kettle and looked out of the kitchen window. There were no blackbirds. Their nest is in my mop head bay and I have watched them fly up and under to get to their nest full of young. They would be about ten days old by now and not long to fledging. But there was no sign of the parents. Then, walking down the path I saw a dead baby blackbird. It must have been dragged out of its cosy nest and then for some reason left to die.

Who could have done this? It could have been a cat, but we rarely see one here. No, my money is on the magpies who won the battle for the topmost nest site in the Scots pine. They are patrolling the woodland and garden and attacking any bird they see. It seems cruel but of course that is nature and I cannot pick and choose which animal or bird takes up residence here.

On a brighter note the robins who made a nest in my yew tree outside the front door are still feeding. They land on the lilac, which will soon be flowering, then after a quick look round in they go in with a mouthful of insects or a worm. They have been there all the while our bathroom was being refurbished and withstood the clattering of the skip, the old bath out, the new one in and all the coming and goings. Their young will fledge and begin their new life anytime now.

We feel as if we have begun a new life too by going into a supermarket for the first time in three years. For many years I have shopped online and have usually popped into a supermarket to top up. But in this pandemic time, we have kept away until now. We were so flustered by this unaccustomed event that we put our shopping on the wrong side of the self-serve counter. We fed our goods in from the right to the left, which caused great confusion for the computer as we emptied our ‘out’ basket into the ‘in’ basket!

Another thing that was strange for me this week was that I heard a skylark and I automatically looked up into the blue sky and I could see it. That might not seem strange to you but before my eye operation there was no way I could see a lark high in the sky. Now with my new lenses I could easily locate that little brown bird with its quivering wings and nostalgic call of spring.

 (Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)


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