I was clearing a large patch of Galium aparine this morning when I noticed I had company. A very young Blackbird, Turdus merula, was picking away in the leaf litter around my feet. Blackbirds are normally skittish and one of the most common avian sounds we hear is probably the loud alarm and flight call of the Blackbird. This youngster clearly did not understand what his parents had told him. I watched him and he watched me. I stayed still for a while thinking that if I startled the bird it would fly. Then I resumed my weed pulling. The bird stayed and we worked our way in synch along the fence. Perhaps my actions disturbed the small creatures below the leaf litter and provided the bird with easy pickings.A few small tseeps was all I could get out of him. I know it was a ‘he’ because girls pay more attention in class and would have heeded the warnings. I don’t know if we will continue to meet like this, behind the compost bin. Perhaps he will get a good ticking off from Mum. Write out 100 times “I shall not get close to humans”. Or maybe he will start a brave new Blackbird world and keep me company regularly. There is plenty of room in the garden for us both.
Last night I had two Autographa gamma, Silver Y moths in the trap. Here is one:The Silver Y is a migrant. Hot on the heels of a Rush Veneer the night before it means Summer is starting for real. I also had a rather aberrant White Ermine, An interesting pattern I have not seen before.
As I got up this morning i was surprised to see another deer in the garden. This one was calmly sitting in the middle of the lawn. A bigger, heftier male with fine antlers. Judging by the depression in the lawn he weighed a fair bit.I suspect he noticed me and he went for a walk around the garden.I did not see him leave but later the doe arrived. She was aware of my presence quickly and leapt clean over the ‘stock fence’. We seem to be the morning breakfast bar for the deer now. I have identified 3 different individuals but I am sure there are many more.
Mid-morning and I started to tackle another section of overgrown weeds – very large clumps of docks, ferns and some others I did not recognise. I also trimmed some hazel branches back and cut down some brambles, the stems of which were over an inch thick. I saw a diurnal moth, Nemophora degeerella. This moth has very long antennae and a fluttery flight.
Pretty enough on its own but suddenly there was a cloud of them. All around me dancing moths, jiving micro lepidoptera, up high then whirling down like a sycamore seed pod before bobbing back up, left, right, twirling around, miniature ballerinas. I watched, fascinated for 10 minutes, wondering if my friendly Blackbird was nearby, enjoying the show. Then I was called back to the house. I left but the show went on.
Animals can provide us with great companionship, love and comfort . Or they can pass through our lives as momentary players on our stage. Those we spend our time with become pillars of support, offering up unquestioning loyalty. Until they too must leave. I dedicate this post to Murphy. A fond farewell to a friend I never met.