This could be rather sad…
I come to north Norfolk a lot at weekends. Bought a small house here as a/My parents were in North Norfolk and in declining health so I could visit them regularly but not have to stay with them and b/ could not afford London (where I have had a one room (rented) flat for 20 years 😦 ) . The result was a tiny ‘yard’ garden at the back of a back-to-back house. These yards are small so there are very few birds in this street, mainly a large noisy jackdaw family on the roofs to the front and back. Naturally I wanted to grow things so I ripped up the paving, planted a birch, an apple, a crab apple, a rowan and a pear – clearly excessive for a very small garden. There was a May flowering clematis, and as I am only in the tiny garden a little – when I am up – sometime in the last few weeks a pair of blackbirds – Turdus merula– took to the clematis and built a nest. The problem was I did not know this until I heard the clucking of the disturbed birds. Inevitably I have to use the garden a bit, taking the recycling rubbish bin out this morning I spotted the nest was empty of parents – I hope it is not deserted. There seem to be about three eggs. At any rate, if it is a failure they will probably try and find somewhere else to nest, but territories are divided up by now and blackbirds are common.
Oh – they are still going in and out of the nest – hurrah!
Whenever I see a clematis I think of this beautiful poem by Roland Leighton – from the Vera Brittain book Testament of Youth –
The sunshine on the long white road
That ribboned down the hill,
The velvet clematis that clung
Around your window-sill
Are waiting for you still.
Again the shadowed pool shall break
In dimples at your feet,
And when the thrush sings in your wood,
Unknowing you may meet
Another stranger, Sweet.
And if he is not quite so old
As the boy you used to know,
And less proud, too, and worthier,
You may not let him go –
(And daisies are truer than passion-flowers)
It will be better so.
I seem to recall that Konrad Lorenz wrote about jackdaws – Corvus monedula.
The jackdaw picture is so close up because I purchased a new Pentax x90 ‘bridge’ camera – very pleased with it as well. They are very noisy when they get together, like teenage hoodies but with that amazing eye… I wonder if they will bother the blackbirds – magpies certainly do according to this article –
I went out for a bike ride in the evening – when it was finally raining good and proper – got soaked and loved it. I cycled to Sidestrand/Trimingham cliff top in a typical summer Atlantic depression – like D-Day weather, strong southwesterly driving rain starting 5.30-ish still going when I got back about 9.30. I swear that I saw Black Shuck run across a field from the hedge on Hungry Hill – or would have were I superstitious! It would have been a fox, which is rare enough to see in the countryside as they are so much more wary of humans. It looked black as midnight but the light was grey and the rain was coming down quite hard. Perhaps it was the Barley Wolf – Beow Wulf / Beowulf? It is a story from chapter XLVIII of Frazer’s The Golden Bough, the Corn Spirit as an Animal. The way the barley waves in the wind is animal like, likewise when the crop was cut animals hiding would run out from the standing wheat or barley. The last sheaf was cut and in some places shaped into an animal. Of course Frazer is well out of fashion but I think there is good reason to connect Beowulf with this, linking in with Sceafbut then someone wrote a book about this I found after I had made the same connection!