Val has told of her worries that she had become a destroyer of baby birds.
I thought she was being a little pessimistic and decided to keep an eye on things. As you can see, the nest was certainly pretty exposed and very near to the new fencing. But it was well sheltered from behind by an old fallen tree, and once the fencing was complete it would remain largely undisturbed.
The four eggs were very clearly visible, but where was the mother? Had we scared her off?
A couple of days later, I was installing the top wire to finish off the fencing when I spotted her. She did not stay long, but I got a reasonable glimpse of a small brown bird with a orange-red head.
“Ah, that must be a blackcap,” said Val.
I know very little about birds, but this seemed to be rather perverse – surely it should be called an orangecap? It seems that in the sexist world of ornithology, it’s the male that dominates – and the male backcap does indeed have a black cap.
So, the mother was sitting on the eggs, but would she stay – and would they hatch?
A further few days passed, and I returned to put in the electric wire along that stretch of fence, and the nest was full of a mass of entangled bodies and gaping mouths. I passed by quickly . . . . .
I hope the next time I check, there’s an empty nest! I must keep an eye out for little blackcaps around the farm. I wonder what they look like?