It might be the first Monday of June but here in old Blighty it’s blooming cold again. More noticeable as we’ve just experienced two wonderful weeks of warm weather after all the rain of the previous month. But it has done the garden good and at long last it is starting to come into its summer glory, if a wee bit late.
The main attraction in the garden is the beds full of Grannies Bonnets, or to give them their correct name: aquilegia. They are also known as columbines and the bees love them; when the sun is out there is a constant drone in the air. These tall colourful plants grow almost like weeds in the garden, a biennial that sets seed one year to flower the next. A lovely mixture of colour, some are plain, the purples, mauves, pinks and whites with flowerheads that hang down, whilst my favourites are the mixed colours – pink and white, mauve and cream, blue and white, two-tone yellow. One in particular has red outer petals and yellow trumpets, which hold their heads up. Pineapple rock, my husband says it reminds him of.
I spend a lot of time in my garden, it’s tranquil and secluded and thus a great place for the garden birds, which I feed all year round. I have a large flock of sparrows that virtually live in the garden, along with a pair of blackbirds, dunnocks and great tits. I am an avid bird watcher, I always have been; my binoculars are always close by and I can proudly boast I know all of our native and visitor species. Or so I thought…
This year I spied a new bird. I first saw him (although it could be a she) he was nestled in the grass underneath the bird feeder. Brown, with a mottled belly, he looked very much like a sparrow but the other sparrows ignored it. At first, I thought he must have been injured but as soon as I approach it, it shot off into the shrubbery like greased lightening. He spends most of the day feeding on the fallen bird seed, bathing in the birdbath and sitting on top of a tall, spiky firethorn bush but whenever a magpie or gull flies over, he darts away out of sight.
Keen to find out what it was, I perused all my bird books and trolled the internet. Finally I discovered it; its gait with splayed legs and its body shape should have told me – it was no new species, no newly found rare visitor. It was, in fact, a young robin that hadn’t got its red waistcoat yet. It was the very first time I had seen a youngster. Over the weeks, it’s got quite used to me being in the garden and doesn’t panic and rush off to hide if ever I’m about. Now he merrily bathes whilst I watch, and hops and flits around the grannies bonnets seeking out insects without taking any notice of me. It would be lovely if he stays around so I can enjoy watching him mature into the cute bird with a wonderful song that is so much a part of the British garden.