|He's emerged! Duke of Burgundy, Ivinghoe Beacon, 05/05/2016|
This week I think I’ve been trying to cram the whole of April and early May into two sunny days. Yesterday was a good’un, with year firsts for local Swifts, Dingy Skipper and Duke of Burgundy, plus an out of the blue Hoopoe bouncing around in Tring Park. Judging by Twitter, it was truly magical, “now you see me, now you don’t!”. I got lucky, arriving just 10 minutes before it flew up the steep slope on the south side (the wooded bank, in the far distance, in the photo below), and appeared to keep going, heading SSE. That was the last I saw of it.
|View over Tring Park plus digiscoped Hoopoe on 05/05/2016|
Of course, firsts and the rare are the exception. Mostly, the highlights are extraordinary encounters with the ordinary: a bird that is settled, perhaps singing or preening, showing no fear or aversion and, without fanfare, you find that you are permitted to weave your senses into the experience of The Other. You forget yourself, and you and the bird unite. A delicate yet very real relationship comes to life: the observer and the observed. I had one such moment yesterday.
In the morning, I walked the length of the River Bulbourne where the Grey Wagtails are nesting. The female was safely on her eggs and I left her to it. However, a male flew in and perched up nearby. I’m guessing he’s the mate although there is this third adult around which I’ve not yet been able to sex. I’ve no idea what role this extra bird has. Is it perhaps a young adult from last year’s brood, helping with this year’s rearing? I know some species have that type of familial relationship but I’ve no idea if it happens in Wagtails?
Anyway, the smart male balanced and preened and swished his tail for nearly 2 minutes. I stood in the sunshine, watching/filming through the scope, savouring every second. The terms of these encounters are always dictated by the other. As soon as he was through finessing his feathers, the tether between us dropped and he was wild again. My breathing returned to normal, my consciousness expanded and each of us assumed our separated selves, mine the richer for our brief alliance...
P.S. Ever the optimist, I’ve added a new widget in the left sidebar called Follow by Email. If you’d like to be automatically notified when a new post has been published, just enter your email address. Simples!