The great tits I filmed so intensively feeding their young inside a hollow concrete brick in the ruined Bofors Gun Pit, have now flown; the hatchings fledged and the nest abandoned until next year. I decided to take a look and found that the bedding of the nest was some five inches deep and seemingly built up over a number of years by subsequent generations of the bird. It is a soft warm carpet of mosses, feathers and tiny dried leaf fragments – as well as the skeletal remains of at least one tiny bird that did not make it. I carefully replaced the nest materials inside the concrete block and restored the small entrance to this tiny home.
Transparent red expressed from layers of decomposing oak leaves floats above heavier ocherous sediments in a warm pool at the river’s edge (@ 50 47.260 N x 1 24.248 W). I gather this fluid reminder of the tree in a small jar and deliver it for further contemplation in the Egg.
The muddy sand of my local marsh is home to many thousands of hydrobia, a very small yet perfectly formed mollusc. This tiny snail is an average of just 4mm long and is the food of wading birds as they feed along the edge of the undulating tide. Their empty shells gather at certain points along the upper tide line and I have commemorated them with my own small Hydrobia Egg.
On the river’s edge to the North of the Egg at 50º47’31.19″ N + 1º 24’19.58″ W, a plaque invites remembrance of a moment in time seventy years ago. Exbury House (designated HMS Mastadon) was the centre for training the crews of the landing craft gathered along the length of the Beaulieu River, in preparation for Operation Overlord – the amphibious landings in Normandy on June 6th 1944.
‘Oak on Western Red Cedar’ Media: kitchen knife and Smoke from the paraffin lamp.
The tamarisk trees on the outer bank are beginning to blossom and as with other plants on the foreshore, I am collecting a small sample to ‘preserve’ in alcohol. The pink blossom, red of the stem and fresh green foliage will soon be leached out. More ghostly reminders of transience in a changing place.
This afternoon I hung the window shade for the first time this year to keep out the sun’s heat and two swallows flew into the newly darkened interior. They sat on a shelf under the window for a few moments and then calmly and expertly flew out of the door (with none of the panic and clattering about of a starling or a pigeon for example).
According to the RSPB website, swallows prefer outbuildings which provide dark nooks and crannies for nesting, as these are cosy in cold weather and cool when it is hot and they must have sensed the Egg was worth a quick reconnaissance. As they can enter a building through a very small hole, my open hatch was not going to provide any difficulty.
Earlier in the week two deer approached the Egg door only for me to startle them and drive them away. I think the deer will show up on my time lapse cameras, but the swallows were too swift (and I was to mesmerised) to give any time to pick up a camera.
The flags are flowering along many marsh edges and I have preserved a small sample plant in alcohol as part of a collection of local flora. The colour of the petals is quickly leached out, leaving them beautifully transparent, yet pale ghosts of their former selves.
The decayed wooden hulk of the supply boat @ 50º47’54.53″ N & 1º24’33.35″ W, dates from the later days of the second world war and it is slowly returning to the (soggy) earth from which its timbers originally sprang. Every day adds a story to its seventy year long narrative, as here, in my own parish, the wooden walls of the Egg begin their own journey.
One of the smallest working tug boats brings visitors to the worlds largest Egg.