I've been meaning to write about birds for the past 2 weeks or so mainly because - joys of joys - the first swallows put in appearance at our end of Long Mountain on 14th April. Their arrival coincided with the end of a month of unseasonable warmth and the arrival of a climate which would send any right-minded bird straight back to Africa. A sight to lift the spirits none-the-less.
However, it seems these were passing through. A few days later a lone bird sat on the wire which crosses the lane, slowly and elegantly flexing first one wing and then the other. It was there long enough to raise my hopes that 'our' swallows were indeed back. But nope. Another passer-by. Today another two twittered, tweeted and stretched on the same wind-swept wire before they too launched off into the grey skies which have been this month's signature sky colour.
Chester the 'brave' hunting dog has sniffed out 2 nests: a Dunnock with these most beautiful bright blue eggs and that of a Robin.
The Dunnock has chosen to build in a little topiary ball at the back of the house - not a particularly private or secret spot - as you can see from this rather uninteresting picture of our terrace.
The dog's sensitive nose sniffed out the Robin's nest, beautifully crafted in a clump of sedge and grass - a little soft mossy cup with 4 tiny speckled eggs. We called him away but he obviously filed it away in his dog-brain as some thing which needed further investigation. Two days later he seized the opportunity for a bit of hunting and dived in...emerging with a mouthful of Robin. Why is the death of a Robin the saddest thing?
Chester was chastised and sent to his bed but I'm not sure our rantings will have much effect - he is hard-wired to hunt. It is in his nature. Curiously he has not taken much notice of the pair of ducks which look as if they might set up home near the pond - or maybe their presence has bookmarked for future action too. Advice for all birds around here would be to nest at least 3 feet off the ground.
The Trelystan orchids show promise - last year Powis County Council's hyper-efficient verge mowing team did as instructed by the Wildlife Trust and didn't mow until late summer. They managed to escape predation by sheep, lambs and rabbits as well. Let's hope they have another good year. This is the first one coming into flower - another duff picture as I was too idle to get out of the car.
I hope and believe this stretch of roadside is being treated as a nature reserve - it will be interesting to see what emerges if things are left to grow and seed rather than being scalped.
So. We await swallows and sunshine. The soil is moist though so maybe I should be out there sowing seeds. It's not raining at the moment....carpe diem.