A robin a day makes me cheery and gay!
A robin a day drives the grey skies away.
A robin a day, hip hip hooray!
It looks like Mr Grumpy is not at all happy with the food he’s been given – maybe it doesn’t have the fruity flavoured suet pellets he likes best.
Perhaps Mr Grumpy doesn’t like the fact that the food has been tucked into a crack in the wooden post – maybe that makes it too hard to get at.
Or perhaps Mr Grumpy is really Mr Fusspot or even Mr Lazy in disguise.
Mr Grumpy is certainly glaring very rudely at Ms Happy.
Unfortunately, Mr Tickler is nowhere to be found so there is no way to make Mr Grumpy less grouchy so I think Ms Happy will just leave him to wallow in his bad mood all by himself.
Robin: ‘The food table’s looking a bit empty!’
Me: ‘Well, hello to you, too, Robin.’
Robin: ‘Oh, okay. Hello, lady.’
Me: ‘Nice to see you today.’
Robin: ‘Never mind the small talk. It’s cold and I’m hungry!’
Me: ‘So, what else is new?’
Robin: ‘I’m still not seeing any food here. Suet is my favourite, y’ know.’
Me: ‘Yes, I know. And you’ll glare at me until I give you some, won’t you?’
Robin: ‘Darn right!’
My imminent house-moving was getting to me today and, as I’m already about two-thirds packed with a week still to go, I allowed myself an afternoon off for a long walk around my local parks for a Nature fix.
It always amazes me how many species of birds I can see in a walk around Roath Park Lake. Today it was 28: Carrion crow, Magpie, Jay, Robin, Dunnock, Lesser black-backed gull, Black-headed gull, Canada goose, Barnacle goose, Greylag goose, Mallard, Manky mallard and Aylesbury duck, Coot, Moorhen, Pochard, Tufted duck, Teal, Shoveler, Pied wagtail, Grey wagtail, Redwing, Song thrush, Cormorant, Mute swan, House sparrow, Feral pigeon and Woodpigeon (though purists might not count the Aylesbury duck, Manky mallards or Feral pigeons as extra species). Still, I think it’s an impressive total. These are just a very small selection of the photos I took …
When deciding on a title for this post, I couldn’t help but wonder where the phrase ‘Watch the birdie’ originated, and I quickly discovered that as early as 1879 Victorian portrait photographers were using trained live birds and then mechanical chirping birds to hold the attention of their subjects. (This blog has more details if you’re interested.) My intentions were a little different: I was carrying small pottles of bird seed to try to hold the birdies’ attention so I could take their photographs! However, plenty of folk had beaten me to it and the birds were already scoffing into all their food presents.
I hadn’t been to Forest Farm for a month or two so it was lovely to wander along the towpath of the old Glamorgan Canal and the meandering woodland paths, listening to bird song all around. A highlight was watching a kingfisher trying to spot the sprats in the canal – I only saw it dive once and that was unsuccessful but it was still an absolute delight to watch. It was a truly wonderful day watching the very-much-alive birdies.
Me: ‘Robin, you’re back!’
Robin: ‘Back? I haven’t been away.’
Me: ‘But I haven’t seen or heard from you in months.’
Robin: ‘Well, no, lady, I’ve been too busy to just sit around and chat, y’know.’
Me: ‘What’ve you been up to, little robin?’
Robin: ‘I had a mate to find and a territory to defend and a nest to build and kids to feed and rear. Summer’s a busy time for us robins!’
Me: ‘Phew, I feel tired just listening to you. And here was me thinking you were just hiding in the leafy trees or that you’d gone on your summer holidays.’
Robin: ‘Holidays? Fat chance! It’s been hard work for the last few months.’
Me: ‘You do look as if you’ve lost weight.’
Robin: ‘I have, and now winter’s coming so I need to fatten up to keep warm. So, lady, got any food for me today?’
We’ve seen some of the landscape at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park; we’ve checked out the prime lakefront real estate; and we’ve been tit-elated by some of its small birds. Now, here’s what was on Nature’s menu last Wednesday.
The absolute highlight of the day was seeing my first Blackcap, and not just one, but five in total, at different times, in different locations, including a female (she wears a brown cap). I was well pleased with that!
After a quiet birding day last time I visited, I was delighted to see more of my favourites this time: a robin was feeding its fledgling; the great and blue tits were demanding food; chaffinches and wood pigeons were getting tucked in to seed left by others; two buzzards were gliding overhead, looking for lunch; a jackdaw was collecting nest-making materials.
As well as these and many other birds, there was a wonderful assortment of butterflies and bees feasting on the lesser celandine and wild violets flowering along the path edges. There were occasional clumps of bluebells and wafts of wild garlic flowers, and it was a gloriously warm spring day. A man I met during my wandering told me I looked happy, and so I was, doing what I love most – being with nature.
There are so many robins around at the moment, gracing our gardens, parks and woodlands with their songs and territorial squabbles and bright bursts of cheery redness, that I couldn’t help but wonder what collective noun is used for the robin. So, I googled, and found two different lists, though both had many of the same words. The British Bird Lovers website says their list was chosen by members of their Facebook page, though I’m not sure when that occurred, and the Bird Guides website reports on a poll conducted by BTO and the Sunday Express in 2011, where members of the public gave their suggestions.
This is the combined list, accompanied, of course, by lots of photos of cute robins because you can never have too many robins! Which name is your favourite?
a round of robins a breast of robins a blush of robins
a bobbin of robins a carol of robins a gift of robins
a reliant of robins a riot of robins a rouge of robins
a ruby of robins a rabble of robins a red of robbins
a squabble of robins a rash of robins a hood of robins
In spite of occasional hail showers and a biting cold wind, yesterday was another magical day at Forest Farm Nature Reserve. I was serenaded by robins, I laughed at the antics of the cute little blue tits, was entertained by the thrushes and blackbirds performing acrobatic stunts in search of the tastiest ivy berries, and enjoyed the most wonderful privilege of a great tit perching on my hand to eat the seeds I was offering. Here are a few of my photos.