A few years ago I became attached to a wee Robin that lived in my hedge, a relationship that ended in a tragedy that competes with Romeo and Juliet for pathos with me cast as the villain. You can read about him here and here. That little robin, Bobby, had quite a distinct and dreamy personality. Not as pugnacious as your average robin he spent bright days on the wing mirror of my car keeping his reflection company and rainy days sheltered on the sill of the tiny window of the spare room that looked onto the hedge staring rain and the dripping briars.
Since Bobby’s premature demise and the return from the dead of his girlfriend and her subsequent remarriage (I know, I know-I’m projecting but I have to get my drama somewhere), the robins have kept their distance as if they know somehow that I am a murderer. I imagine generations of baby robins being threatened with me as some sort of bogey woman if they don’t eat their berries.
Last month though I came across the most recent baby robin of the hedge. There only tends to be one unless it’s mating season as they are territorial. Within weeks of a chick hatching the parents leave. It is very hard to tell the difference between sexes though I think the females tend to be slimmer and it is generally the females that move on and the males that stay put. I came across this little guy/gal when I was on an expedition into the ditch. There is a big north east leaning hawthorn in the hedge out the back which all the birds, sparrows, tits, robins, starlings, use as protection, for nesting and perching and which the cows use for shade. I had noticed some bindweed making it’s insidious way up the tree and so ventured into the hedge to rip it out by its roots.
It was shady in there, the light dappling through the flickering leaves onto the stones of the old ditch showing through the moss that carpetted the little the sanctuary.I spent a satisfying hour murdering the bindweed in this little oases of peace and my clumsy rummaging eventually attracted the attention of the curious and annoyed little robin.
Robins always seem to be affronted, staring accusingly from high branches as they bob and twitter insults at idiots like me. I imagine them writing angry letters to local papers. This little one was no different as it flitted, annoyed among the branches. Still, it managed to carry on about its business. I even saw it deftly catch and consume a little white butterfly. It still had baby feathers though the red breast was becoming noticeable. After getting a few shots I retreated to the house to leave it in peace.
I have spotted it a few times since, though not often. The baby feathers are gone revealing a slim shape. It doesn’t have the dreamy trustingness of Bobby, who I murdered before his genes could impact the hedge-pool but it is also a bit intimidated by the sparrow gang so maybe not as saucy as the average robin. It is rare for me to get a shot of it out in the open.
I hope it, she maybe, will claim her space and stick around. I’ll try not murder this one…
This post is for Mona, whose funeral was on the day I found the little robin in the hedge. Rest in Peace Mona, you will be much missed.