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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Maternity wing in the potting shed!

Click on the photo to enlarge ~ Mrs Robin is just to the right of the topmost tray. I altered the lighting of my camera in order to see her better as it's fairly dim in the shed.

Sorry about the pun but it's apt. Look what I discovered this morning..... mummy Robin in her nest! You have to click the picture to enlarge it so you can see her more clearly.

Why haven't I reported the nest in our shed before? To be honest, from below it just looks like a pile of leaves and, despite hubby's best efforts, there are lots of gaps (I call it ventilation) where leaves can be blown in. I had seen this 'pile of leaves' and not given it a second thought; they could have been arranged there in one clump 'Harry Potter style' for all I knew. Anyway, I just went about the daily business of sowing, pricking out and potting-on, unaware of the important events that were going on simultaneously.

Hubby and I had seen a Robin going in and out the greenhouse, via the open window, but we thought it was going in for insects. Then yesterday, while I was potting up some violet seedlings, I turned round for a pot and there was Robin with a grub in his beak. He wasn't taking food from the greenhouse, but bringing it in. That's when I realised he was obviously feeding something...... I may not be very observant but I'm not entirely thick. :D

I abandoned my potting-up activity and watched the goings-on from behind the patio window. When Robin entered the greenhouse, he was in for about 12 seconds. He was gone for about 1 1/2 minutes before returning again and this went on constantly for as long as I made my observations, and longer I expect.

I couldn't fight the urge to have a closer look, so this morning I carried a chair down to the shed to stand on. There, amongst the leaves was Mrs Robin sitting still and quiet, her dark bright eyes just feet away from mine. I'd seen this particular Robin before because her red markings struck me as unusual. We all know that Robins have a red breast but this Robin's red pullover goes right over her face! Because of the richness of its colouring, I had assumed this to be the male. Now I know it's the female ...... and sitting on eggs!

Encountering our 'neighbours' in the potting shed was one of those moments that make life seem so worthwhile. Joy like this can't be bought but is freely given. Cheers Mother Nature, I owe you one!

This is what the nest looks like from ground level, with normal lighting. Thank goodness I didn't get round to tidying up all those pots and trays!


  1. A big up for lazy people then.
    I want a Robin in my shed!!!
    The good thing Lesley is that most "English" Robins are tolerant of people so you have the chance to make more fairly close observations if you want. The continental Robins that come over aren't very tolerant at all and are very shy. If your out and about and you see a Robin and it shoots off chances are its continental. (keep an eye out for a string of onions around the neck. Always a give away.)
    We do have some House Sparrows nesting but they are under the end ridge tile on the roof!
    While we are discussing babies. I've not posted yet but i have "humbugs" at Killingworth.......the Great Crested Grebes on the smaller lake have young. My Grebes aren't due for another couple of weeks at least. Took some images this morning but yet to check them.

  2. Briliant news about your new find, I'm sure you'll keep us up todate.

  3. One of the lovely things I like about Robins is that they don't seem to get too bothered by having people around..infact we have a Robin that follows us maybe you will have plenty of chances to see the babies when they arrive. Hope you will not need the trays for your seeds though:-)

  4. ..... or BUSY people, you cheeky so-and-so! 'Our' Robins are definitely Brits 'cos he's wearing union jack boxer shorts and she has the lion rampant tattoed on her rump. :O)

    John, I'm amazed at how tolerant these little birds are.... I practically live in the greenhouse/potting shed, I'm in and out with plants all the time and I've just recently replaced the paving slabs in there, which added up to quite a lot of activity and yet, there they are carrying on with their family life despite me. :)

  5. I certainly will David. Hopefully I'll be able to get some photographs when mum and dad are feeding the babies in the garden in a few weeks' time. :)

  6. Hi Helen. Yes they are really used to being around us. A few days ago I was watering some plants in a container and one of the Robins landed on an obelisk just a couple of feet away. It was at my eye-level and as we acknowledged each other, I instinctively said, "Hello Robin." He sat there for what seemed like ages as I watered the plants. :)

  7. Robins are such beautiful birds Lesley. And when it comes to singing, stunning to!

  8. Hi Gf :) Robins seem to be great little characters.... we can't help but be fond of them.