Not quite the successful blockbuster off the TV of similar title but certainly having as much drama and danger.. if lacking the Sean Bean interest for the fairer sex.
Spring is the time when the natural world bursts into life and it is certainly the time when the birds play out the drama of attracting mates, finding nest sites and defending territories.
One of the joys of working in the natural world of course is that you get paid (although a pittance) to enjoy the drama unfold.
Our feathered friends are the most conspicuous of our wildlife and until the buds start to break open on the trees shrouding them from sight are the most easily visible as the males sing their mate attracting and territorial song. In reality not so much of a song as we like to romanticise it but more of an 'aye up darlin, I'm the one for you' and 'oi mate get yer own patch' chant.
That delightful robin so cheekily sat there belting out a lovely song is actually more akin to a slightly worse for the wear lad just out the nightclub at closing time..squaring up against the other lads and trying to get the girls attention.
But I digress from the point of this post..which was 'homes'. In a previous Ranger role on a site with a large number of lakes and pools one of the routine jobs was checking that all of the lifebuoys were intact. In spring this became somewhat of a tentative task as many of the birds would choose the comparative safety of the lifebuoys to nest in. They had to be checked, we couldn't just leave them for a few weeks but at the same time the task had to be carried out quietly and tentatively as more often than not a nest would be inside with a bird sat on eggs or the newly hatched.
It is interesting how the smallest pet dogs seem to bark the most (and sometimes the shortest people) and in the bird world the most vocal and aggressive telling off I have received is by a blue tit in one of the lifebuoys who on opening to check it shrieked at me with protective rage.
I soon learned with this one to lift the cover the merest distance, peek in and be on my way otherwise I would be left in no doubt of its occupants consternation at my ingress.
This year on my site I realised that a Song Thrush had made a nest in the most conspicuous and frankly not ideal place. However there is no reasoning with a Song Thrush and I left her to it hoping that it may not be noticed and keeping a very distant eye on the site whenever I could.
All things seemed to be going well and four speckled blue eggs were duly laid and no disturbance apart from my having to pass on my early morning rounds when I would be kept a close eye on from a nearby tree or beady eye from around the brickwork.
From when the eggs had appeared I guesstimated when they might hatch and a couple of days earlier than I had guessed on one of the morning rounds two new diminutive hungry song thrushes were evident in the nest. At this time due to the location I was able to secure the area off during the day and night feeling rather protective over this family of red list birds.
I dispatched a few emails to those who might be carrying out grounds duties in the area and had a chat with the friends groups that often worked in the vicinity.
All were happy to oblige and give the area a wide berth in order to allow our song thrush a little peace and quiet and the best possible chance.
The 'friends of' even contacted me to say that they had cancelled a schools group event moving to a later date in order for the least possible disturbance.
It is reassuring to know that as much damage as the human race can and often does do that given the close proximity and connection to nature we can all rally round to protect the simplest of things.
It just seems a shame that we can't seem to get those with power to protect the bigger picture when economics and politics come into play.
Back to the nest. All was well and good and I was hoping for the other two eggs to hatch and for a period of busy times for the adults building up the young and ultimately a happy ending for all.
If only life was that simple.
A couple of days later keeping my rounds in that area to a distance from the nest I noted that no adult birds were in evidence. Normally even passing from a distance would cause the adult to fly up into an adjacent tree to watch with wary eyes until all was safe to return to the brood.
Watching for a while I became sure that there was something wrong and so I made my way, fearing the worst to check the nest. Surely the worst couldn't have happened. However my fears were confirmed and the nest was totally devoid of any eggs or young.
It is amazing how protective you can feel over a nest and how devastating the feeling can be when all of the birds efforts and initial success ultimately were for nothing.
Of course life goes on and the site has a very healthy population of song thrushes and it is natures way, nature can be cruel in our eyes. However I still miss the knowledge that new life was in the making in that nook in the wall and the hope that those little song thrushes would be joining the parks population.
There is plenty of other nesting action around the site but this little potential family was close enough to form a stronger connection with. Something that every child and adult should experience.