LYING in bed of a morning, with a cup of tea and a volume of Alice Munro short stories, I have been distracted by the antics of a pair of wrens. Both similarly feathered in interesting but not spectacular shades of brown.
Sisters? No, from their antics they seemed more than just good friends.
Their play was a form of hopscotch with one taking great delight in jumping back and forth over the other, occasionally landing fleetingly on her back ( I really had no idea who was who for they appeared identical) then settling back into their cosy shoulder-to-shoulder position.
They were in the habit of launching off from the decking rail and gently engaging with the window pane. At first I thought they were picking off insects but then realised they were attacking their own images as many small birds do as with reflections in wing mirrors on cars. (I’ve put a sock on our car mirrors in this mad season to protect birds that are claiming territorial rights.)
In this case pulling down the bedroom blind was of no help as it only enhanced their reflection. Besides, that would leave me with just Alice and no side show.
Then slowly over the weeks a small patch of blue became visible on the hopscotcher and over several days this developed into the splendid full regimental dress of the superb blue wren.
They are still here and still deciding where to build their home. I do wish they would get on with it so I can return to my reading but the show goes on.
Some friends of mine went off to Rhyll yesterday on a tour of selected properties. The theme was botanical, not bird watching, with a visit to several sites. Each entailed a degree of walking so I excused myself. One property they visited was that of John Clarke's, he of TV fame. He had an interesting story about birds that I hope he would not mind me repeating.
He had witnessed what he thought was a swamp harrier circling high above carrying its kill. John thought a rabbit.
He watched as another hawk ascended in that spiral way they do and, after a few rapid passes, successfully, it seemed to him, forced the hunter to drop its catch from directly above the aggressor. The bully folded its wings and dived down, catching the rabbit in mid air.
John's inquiring mind prompted him to contact a friend knowledgeable in the ways of birds of prey. His friend said it was not an act of thieving as John had assumed but the way of harriers during the breeding season.
Seems that the male doing the hunting for the family must hand over the rewards for the female to take back to the nest. He is not allowed into the family home; it's his job to provide for the missus and the brood.
In the past, I have worked with men who traditionally handed over their wages to their spouses and in return received their week’s allowance.
I hope our wrens come to a better agreement than this.