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Country Scene

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: December 27, 2013

Robin Erithacus rubecula, on magnolia tree

Robin Erithacus rubecula, on magnolia tree

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RIGHT, yes I’ll start off the year on the field club rota but, with what? Says he, later! Something topical then. So, looking round the cards, robins are the most popular for the “post-Santa times”.

They are great followers, and are trained easily when forking, to edge closer and closer. They collect insects when disturbed, and exude friendship – a total fallacy, which fools the artists at this time of year, and earlier.

Watch closely, and one soon sees the aggressive nature of male on male, similarly with the she-males.

Come December though, and they pair up, but for true courtship, which comes in March, ready for early nesting.

With the pairing comes the singing, to establish the rights to certain areas of territory.

With any retreat or approach, the song becomes louder. It is well worth stopping your activity to watch theirs, at any time of year.

They have a demanding song, too, which is listed as being from December through to June, and then tails off as days become darker.

Listen, and you will realise that the volume grows to scare off any intruder.

This varies with the maturity or experience of the visitor. The experienced robin will use its colour to the maximum, and puff up to impress, in a posture.

The head jerks up and down, with an angry call, aiming to scare off the intruder.

Yet our impressions do vary so from the Australian robin, which is common in the East. There, robins are predominantly yellow and grey.

It is quoted to be quiet and charming, as different from our version.

One of our grand-daughters thee is a keen watcher of all things natural, and keeps us on our toes in their country.

They would be pleased to see our natural world and the differences, especially our winter times.

Snow and frost would be a novelty, with some harsh driving conditions.

As an aside, we can recall taking a police driving course some 50 years ago in Suffolk.

This comprised of six two-hour indoor sessions, to discuss driving techniques in harsh conditions.

This was followed by an hour’s drive, with our own comments on performance, followed by police assessment.

Later, we could drive on a skid-pan if wished, to cope with skidding.

This bore out some months later, on a country road, on black ice. This saved the five of us from an accident, but turning full circle on an empty road – gradually slowly into the skid – to regain control.

Anyway, do enjoy the variety that winter brings, if you can.

Without the winters, our years would become humdrum, can you believe?

As a South African remarked, when she stayed with us just before Christmas; “your winters are so colourful”.

So, do they serve as a variety in our years?

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