Nests & Nooks

The Summer nests uncovered by autumn winds / Some torn, others dislodged, all dark / Everyone sees them: low or high in a tree / Or hedge, or single bush, they hang like a mark. (From ‘Birds’ Nests’ by Edward Thomas)

Well, not quite everyone….I was oblivious to many until recently. A good half dozen springtime homes now finally logged around the premises. One or two are remarkably complete, despite the ravages of rude weather. I particularly love this little cone shaped nest, lined with wool and flecked with moss, woven into an intersection of branches in the copse that shelters one side of our yard at the west end. Having observed pipits active round that quarter in the summer I thought it may have been one of theirs but on discovering both meadow and tree varieties are usually ground nesters have had to revise my opinion. Now believe they’re more likely to be the seasonal abode of a member of the tit family, as the other nests in the east copse – lodged in the dense branch framework of either pine or elder – are identical in construction. For the second year running all the usual small garden birds have declined boxes put up for them around the place, clearly preferring their traditional open air pitches…Clearly they know what’s best!

Meanwhile inside the house there’s an almost daily awakening of small tortoiseshell butterflies. Having secreted a winter berth to settle down in, either warmth or light has roused them out of hibernation. One will appear out of nowhere to flutter noisily around a lamp shade, crawl unsteadily over carpet or repetitively climb window panes. I gently capture them in a jam jar and remove each delicate torpid form to the garage workshop; hoping they will find the cool relatively undisturbed haven they need in order to fully shut down for the season.

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