My thanks to 'Planetcam' who shared this lovely photo on Creative Commons.
I thought I would write about this separately, as it has very little to do with tadpoles and garden ponds! Two days ago when I walked into our upstairs bathroom, I noticed a female blackbird on the windowsill outside, her beak full of nesting material. After a minute or so, when we looked at one another with fascination, she flew into the thicket of Clematis which has now reached the roof. I have seen her several times since - each time we regard each other warily - me frightened to move in case I scare her off, her doubtless wondering what that strange tree is the other side of the glass . . .
Anyway, whilst I was out in the yard this afternoon, pottering about and planting Cherokee Trail of Tears beans for my garden, my eye was caught by a House Sparrow, emerging from the Clematis - that very area of the Clematis in fact, where Mrs Blackbird is heroically constructing her nest (she seems to be a single mother . . .) - with a beakful of Mrs Blackbird's nesting material. The Sparrow then disappeared behind the bargeboard higher up. What a little Beast of Berlin as my friend's late mum would have said! I know that House Sparrows will take over the House Martin's nests as they do this at my friend Jude's house and make her hopping mad, as she loves her House Martins. No wonder they are such survivors, although numbers are apparently very low in comparison with 10 or 20 years ago and House Sparrows are no longer regarded as a "common" bird. Perhaps they have been murdered by annoyed lovers of House Martins . . .
Then as I have been sat typing this, I heard an absolute clamour of startled Blackbirds in the garden and had to shoot downstairs to gather up the Honey Monster (our gorgeous golden Maine Coone), who had obviously got too close to another Blackbird family's nest. Both birds were taking their lives in their hands by landing within a few feet of Honey to try and distract her. She has gone out again now and I can hear irate Blackbird chattering in the bushes nearby. I think these must be young birds as they are nesting rather low in the thicket of Paul's Himalayan Musk rose at the back of the garden.
I will try and get photos over the next few days.