When I was a little tacker, The Gould League of Bird Lovers conducted a range of programmes at primary schools, intended mostly I think now with hindsight to stop young boys from stealing eggs during the spring season. “Bird Nesting”, t’was called, and the eggs were kept in small containers lined with cotton wool, and each, well, each had a story of “Daring-do” in how it was retrieved. Often from tall trees, or so it seemed.
Being a bit on the scared of heights side of things, it now seems appropriate to tell, that I never collected a single egg. But used to marvel at the tales of those who did.
Not that I didn’t go out with intent. If I lacked the means, I certainly did not lack the enthusiasm. Which I suppose taught me by some empirical osmosis the signs of a nesting bird. Jon Young makes a point of having a “Sit Spot” in which you return to day after day, season after season, and learn the lore of the land in that spot.
Today, of course we are much to busy to have a 30min break with the birds, and would have to travel distances to get anywhere like open bush. So we do it a bit vicariously, squeezing a few minutes here or there. One reason I always enjoyed my closeness to Woodlands Historic Park was the ability to slip in and out at a moments notice and stay in touch with the birds in their territories.
Like riding a bicycle, the signs of birds and their ways may not be a honed skill anymore, but I found today, that I can still pick some of the tell-tale signs. Which brings us to Eynesbury Grey Box Forest.
Within a few minutes of arriving at a small clearing in the area, it became apparent that there were some White-browed Woodswallows (among others) that were engaged in their breeding programme. Just where the nest was, high, low, open, exposed or secretive, was at that stage bit of a mystery, but again some latent skills began to yawn, stretch and point. “Over there”, saith I. Where said EE. Well it took a few more minutes of close observation, and finally there it was. And what a view.
Talk about a bird with a sense of design and location. This one ticks all the boxes. The local realestate folk would be proud. Long sweeping curves, carefully crafted. Magnificent views, a shot flight to the shops, and an enclosing verandah. A must for the aspiring home-maker. A Winner by any standards.
White-browed Woodswallows, share the nesting duties, each one sitting for 15-20 minutes or so, and then relieved by the other partner who sits on a branch close by, and in what can only be Woodswallowese, calls out, “Hurry up, its my turn to sit now.”