It has not been a good week for baby birds around here. It started with the strong gusting winds on Tuesday shaking the ash trees in the alley next door, the ash trees that contain the rook nests and noisy birds. Well, on our morning walk there was suddenly a flapping black baby rook on the narrow path, somehow between the dog and me.
Luckily, said dog (Sadie) was not that interested, but I had a hard time getting passed the baby bird to make sure there was no interaction, without herding it towards Sadie. Meanwhile, there was a lot of shrieking from above, where the parent rooks were sitting on the telephone lines trying to scare us off. Anyhow, once passed we moved on swiftly, hoping that the bird was just learning how to fly rather than it had been blown out of the nest prematurely.
Next day however, it turned out that the baby rook had died. It had fallen off the small foot bridge that crosses the ditch at the beginning of the alley, into the water below. Poor parents. There is also one less nest in the trees, but fortunately the other is still occupied and noisy.
On the same point of things falling out of the sky, on a different walk in Kent last week, it felt like it had been raining bumblebees. As we (the dog and I) climbed up the slope across the park, we encountered bumblebees lying dazed on the grass under cherry and maple trees. At first I thought they were satiated from nectar from the blossom, falling to the ground drunk as it were. Then I realised that the bees weren’t just restricted to the grass beneath the trees. What I now think, is that these bumblebees were emerging from hibernation in the ground. Maybe the slope and aspect make ideal conditions. I can’t say for certain that this is what I was seeing, but the bees did look like queens. Maybe someone else has seen this kind of spectacle before?
Back to a second sad story of baby birds meeting an early end. I had previously owned up to lifting the roof off a robin nest next to the greenhouse. (The roof was a module tray I was grabbing for some potting on). I return things to how they were and waited to see if I had scared the parents off. Luckily I hadn’t, because for the last week I have been watching two busy robins take insects to the nest while I work in the greenhouse. At each approach there is a corresponding twittering of excitement from beneath the trays. The parents were cautious of me, but bravely carried on. However, yesterday I had to bury four babies that I found scattered across the path, headless. The nest is empty. I think that it must have been a cat. There are several that stroll through the garden. So sad, just when I thought there was a happy end to that nest too!
Ending on a happier note, I saw the Barn Owl again today. It patrols the field containing the Diamond Jubilee wood.
And I found a four-leaved clover, so there will now be a run of good luck I am sure!