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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Just one day

In the morning of May 11th I photographed the first bud on my best rose.

It had already opened out more by the afternoon!

By the way, three days earlier, it looked like this.

And the following day it opened completely. And the final shot is one of the new buds.

And finally, the following day...

This was also the first day that I heard the swifts above my house. You can't heard them, but hey.

In other respects, this was not a good day because I did not see Bobbit. I saw a female robin... not sure if Tiny or Mottled Breast..

She flew from the area where I saw the baby. And I thought about the markings on the breast. I went through my pictures and saw one with a robin whose breast looked striped with black. I saw some similar, thought not as dramatic, black marks on Bobbit at certain points. Which made me wonder if they had used something like cigarette butts in the nests as a pesticide. Birds do that... sparrows in Mexico, I believe, were the first recorded example.

Subsequently I found this story about blue tits nesting in an ashtray!

I have not seen the baby for three days or so.

This is making me sad and anxious. Especially Bobbit's absence.

In the evening, I went out again, when I put out the fox food, and I could hear robins singing. I thought one was Bobbit but if so he didn't come down.

This reminds me that over the time the baby has been around I have heard what I like to think of as "companionable song" or, indeed, baby-talk. Don't guffaw! It turns out that songbirds sing a simplified and slower song to their young so that they can learn more easily. This has been researched in zebra finches, but parsimony suggests it will not be the case for a single species. See here and here. The song at this time, as I have heard it, has been just phrases, a little slower and, if I'm honest, more melodic. None of the trills or the emotionally expressive "spitting" that you can hear in angry territorial song. It is louder than whisper song and not continuous and long - just phrases. It's like a kind of "It's OK, I'm here" combined with singing lessons.

I thought I could hear that this evening. And then I saw a robin - but I think the female again. I walked up to have a closer look, only to disturb the gorgeous fox who was just about to eat the food.

It was wonderful to see him all bushy and red, but I really wanted to see my little friend.

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Jun 05

An extravagantly beautiful rose -- it's a pleasure to see the process of bud to fully open. Enjoyed your thoughts on butts & baby-talk, but no, I couldn't hear the swifts xx

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