The first of the year

After ten days bouncing around the frothy blue waters of the Caribbean in sublime heat, it was more than a bit of a shock to the system to return to the icy cold of Norfolk. Hail storms, remnants of snow and it felt like winter’s grip had not lessened in the time I had been away. Yet, there were signs that spring was at least on its way. Blackbirds, song thrush and dunnocks were all in full song. More and more patches of snow drops were unfurling their delicate petals, clustering together in splashes of brilliant white. Daffodils sprung up along the borders, adding yellow to the palette. After months of dull greens and browns, they bring a welcome breath of colour and hint of spring.

The beauty of snow drops

The paths around Thetford, through its historic castle mound and along the swollen rivers, remained muddy. Barley’s paws and tummy were splattered as we made our way along the trails. Passing a piece of ivy hanging over a crumbling wall, a robin flitted down and out. Its tail flicking. Something about this birds behaviour piqued my interest, the nester in me, having been in hibernation, stirred. I ducked under and there in my line of sight was a neatly woven nest tucked amongst the branches gripping the wall.

The beautiful robin

The season had started, here was my first nest of the year. Three warm eggs, waiting for a couple more. A visit a few days later reveals four warm eggs. For the next few weeks the progress of this individual nest will be monitored. The eggs, chicks and outcome recorded. Although one nest, it is hopefully the first of many I might find this year, and its record will be added to a national database, from which any number of questions can be answered.

The nest with its four eggs

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