I don’t get a great variety not birds in my garden – just the usual suspects of robins, blue tits, dunnocks, wood pigeons and occasionally sparrows. I also have blackbirds, and I watched a female gathering nest material and a male gathering worms, and noticed with some dismay that they seemed to be building a nest in the hedge between my house and my neighbour, just outside my lounge. There was a lot of wiggling of branches and seemed a conspicuous place to set up home, especially as there are a lot of cats near me. I have a cat, but he doesn’t go out, and having had him happily indoors for the last two-and-a-half years, I confess to being rather alarmed when I see cats ranging. I’m not being critical as my previous cat went out and no doubt decimated wildlife, and my reasons for keeping this one inside were sparked by a concern for his safety; my last cat was run over. However, I am a convert and now find it quite distressing to think of the danger in which cats put themselves and other creatures.

I didn’t hold out much hope for this nest succeeding and I was partly dreading watching them being predated and the alarm calls that would be ringing out. A couple of days ago the movement and slightly distracting dark shape crossing over the window in the corner of my eye had abruptly stopped. The next day: nothing. The day after: nothing. I saw a few male blackbirds and a solitary female but nothing at the nest site. I peered in to the top of the hedge and sitting there was a perfect nest with 4 beautiful blue eggs.

It’s such a work of art. I work with bees, and I recognise that their honeycomb is also a minor miracle every time I have the opportunity to see it, and even though this is a regular nest of one of our most common garden birds, I was blown away by its beauty and perfection. The rim of mud; the discarded hay from the guinea pigs; the twigs and grass my imperfect garden.

I felt I had to memorialise this somehow. I recently received a parcel from Jackson’s Art Supplies with some new lino and an ink roller. I used the same reference book as I had done for the lapwings, with a few googled images to adjust the positioning. I am using soft cut lino which is certainly easier to work than the regular type.

I still haven’t quite got the hang of rolling on the ink, and I’m not sure if it’s a bit like making pancakes where it takes a couple of goes to get it right!

Anyway, here is the finished article:

I should have put/left some more leaves and foliage on it – the soft cut material makes a much cleaner outline as it’s so easy to carve. I quite like the “workings” to show, so with my next one I will try and be a bit less tidy.

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