27 October 2019
Sunday morning greeted us with clear baby blue skies and after a quick check of the weather forecast, we decided it was going to be a good day (well afternoon by the time we got around to it) for doing some work on the boundaries over at Stackmoor. Wrapped up warm and with wellies in the car, we headed off.
It was bone warmingly blissful standing in the sun on the edge of the meadow while we got the bits and pieces we needed out of the car but as we walked into the relative darkness of the woods, it began to feel damp and rather chilly. To me, autumn is a colourful time of year with shards of light filtering through the trees although they are beginning to look somewhat sparse now that winter is on the way. Their leaves are starting to carpet and rot on the woodland floor and definitely added to the squelchy underfoot trudge to one of our furthest boundaries.
The plan was to measure out then stake and paracord off some land behind a couple of houses that don’t currently have rear garden fencing. A simple enough job in theory but the reality is that in parts of this area there are large clumps of skin and clothes piercing brambles had other ideas!
Anyway, while standing holding one end of the tape measure (you’ll note that it wasn’t me that took on the challenge of ‘bramble bashing’!), a cheeky and inquisitive little robin came to keep me company. Bravely getting closer and closer he (or she) was probably only interested in where the stakes had disturbed the soil to see if anything interesting had been unearthed to eat. So delicate and brightly red-breasted, he flitted about in the slivers of sunlight that were piercing through the trees and hitting the muddy gound, it was a total joy to watch. Even when there were two of us (yes, the bramble basher returned safely), this bold little bird continued to keep us company.
It’s sad to think that nearly three quarters of robins in Britain die before they are one year old, either caught by predators or unable to fend for themselves.
So, spare a thought for these beautiful little birds through the winter months, as they sit on your garden fence puffing up their plumage in order to insulate their tiny bodies against the cold. As their food sources starts to become scarce, put out a little treat for them. They will eat just about anything put on a bird table, especially fatty foods such as bacon rind and cheese... maybe they’ll reward you with their distinctive and beautiful singing in return.
Personally, I hope we’ve made a new little friend that will come and say hello again as we continue our work at Stackmoor.