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The robins have gone.
It’s really hard for me to write that. I mentioned a few weeks ago that there was a nest in the camellia right outside the dining room window. I knew it was nearby as I’d seen Mamma robin flying back and forth with nesting material. I even left some out for her so she didn’t dig up D’s lawn.
D discovered the nest over two weeks ago, at about eye level in the camellia next to the hydrangea walk. It is so close to where we pass, we could touch it, but it’s very well hidden.
Since then, Mamma and Dad robin have been doing some serious worming in the lawns and flying back and forth to the nest with feverish intensity. We’d heard some faint cheeps over the last week but didn’t want to get too close or draw attention to the nest.
Day before yesterday, the cheeps were stronger and I saw Dad fly in with a huge worm and dispense it to the little upraised beaks. I couldn’t see too well but I was so excited, I ran in to D to tell him “I saw the babies!”
Then, yesterday, suddenly, they were all gone.
No more Mamma sitting on the nest. No more Dad scurrying on the upper lawn for worms, no more little cheeps.
I panicked. I didn’t sleep well last night. I got up at three and read everything I could about the babies. They are ready to leave the nest at 13 or 14 days, and all leave within one day of each other. We don’t know for sure when they hatched, but I so hope that they were ready, that we didn’t scare them by walking by (we have to walk through the gate by the camellia) and that, please, please, please, nothing bad happened.
Somehow, I think they are alright. But I would have thought we would see them on the ground, following the parents for food for another week or so. But…nothing. They’ve moved on.
We’d had a fair amount of rain. I hope that didn’t bother them. D says no, it wouldn’t.
It is very late in the season, perhaps the parents were anxious to move them all elsewhere. Although Hillhaven has to be the best place to be a robin in the whole area!
This evening was lovely, with beautiful clear light on the trees against a blue sky. I walked all over the property before dinner. It was strangely quiet.
No robins hopping away at my approach, none splashing in the birdbaths, no chirping from the trees.
They’ve really gone, I thought. It almost felt eerie, after having had them as such an important part of life and source of so much laughter and delight for so many months.
Then, just as I was turning up the stone path to the door, I heard a familiar “cheerup”. I followed it to the maple on the north end of the property near the woodpile and spotted a robin up in the branches. I couldn’t see if it was Mamma or Dad. I’m pretty sure it was male, anyway. After a few minutes of quiet chirping, he hopped up into the fir, then flew to the top of the cedar, where the rays of the evening sun illuminated his red breast against the deep blue sky. Then, in a smooth and steep dive to the north, he was gone.
A wistful farewell.
But the robins never really leave. They’ll be with us all winter, even if we don’t see them often. And now I shall start counting the days until spring, when we’ll be awakened by their beautiful dawn chorus.
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This is a sneak peak of a new image collection, called Vintage Afternoon, that I HOPE to launch this weekend when I work on the Never Ending Project of setting up an Etsy shop. Besides all the little bits (profile, policy, announcement, shipping) that need to be filled in, I am insisting on having the prints completed before I offer them for sale as I don’t think buyers should wait a week or more for shipping. Thus, I need to have prints I am happy with and since I have such an extensive background in color printing, I have rejected most of what I’ve gotten done. Sooooooo, it’s turning into a long process.
I really hope I can finish or at least get some images listed this weekend…