The lake is part frozen. Ice creeps from its sides towards the middle where the gulls, coots and swans, among other birds, are congregating. Over the past week I’ve continued to take food, not just for the birds, but others that might share. There’s squirrels, rabbits, voles and mice, and also deer have been seen wandering round these here parts, so any old veg leaves, carrots, will help when natural food is scarce.
I found a new place to leave my offerings, somewhere sheltered, an old hawthorn in the middle of a copse. Under my feet is a rabbit warren. It seems to run beneath the whole of the copse of trees because the earth is disrupted, lumpy and bumpy, where the rabbits have forced its shape to make their burrows and little bedrooms among the roots of the hawthorns.
Two old magpie nests, two pigeon nests, a smaller nest belonging to I don’t know what, and there’s a tiny nest box with the number 2 painted in orange only two foot off the ground. Strange.
Anyway, I’ve been taking food every morning and leaving it at the `bread tree`. I place the bread, fruit, nuts and seeds among the stumpy branches, and any veg goes on the floor. Returning in the late afternoon, the Olster will run to the bread tree to investigate, up on his hind legs sniffing at the traces of the beasts who have visited and vanished the offerings away. He seems to be amused by it all.
On the second day of dressing the bread tree I noticed the robin. He kept his distance, watching me. I love robins. Maybe it’s their red breast and quaint deportment. Or maybe it’s because the robin was always my mum’s favourite bird. She would watch from the kitchen window as the same robin visited the rose bushes every day. She would say hello, ask it how it was, and sometimes I think the robin knew what she was saying. My robin, the one in the copse, began to whistle. I know that robins are territorial, and can be vicious, killing other birds who try to muscle in on their patch AND they’re on record for attacking humans, too. So I kept a close eye on him, and wondered if he had his eye on the tiny nest box. Every day the robin would be there, watching from a safe distance.
This morning, while I dressed the bread tree, and Ollie dog inspected the rabbit holes, a movement out of the corner of my eye. The robin. This time he came real close and perched on a branch on the tree nearest the bread tree, only four or five feet away, watching my every move. I bid him good morning, asked if he had a name, but he didn’t answer. So as I dropped my last carrot I named him Sir Robin of the Lake and bade him good day. I moved to the other side of the copse, turned to look, and Sir Robin had already settled himself on a stumpy branch and was pecking away at the bread.
I guess Sir Robin must have been really hungry, and that I am his food source while the freezing weather is here. This is getting interesting. I’ll take a camera this next week, see if I can get some snaps of Sir Robin.