stories and illustration

Robins in the Conservatory

Been working in the studio most of the hours I can manage, and when taking necessary breaks from painting something rather fragile that needs not to be overworked – or underworked either – I watch the birds out of the window, eating the seeds, bread and apples put 0ut for them.  I call “birdies” in rather an idiotic way when I put out the seed, but it does please me when there is a kind of rustle and quiver in the nearby trees.  The hornbeam hedge has been cut down to its minimum, so the birds at the moment prefer the bushes with more shelter to wait until I have gone back into the sutdio.  I was playing some Handel very loud so I turned it down to not frighten the “birdies”.  There are two robins that come, each bird has its own way of taking food.  The blackbirds are very unafraid of people compared to other birds, but they don’t eat much in public, they seize something and fly into the shadows with it  The sparrows cluster together, there are either 15 or none at all.  I think some of them are dunnocks, which I believe is a different variety altogether.  The robins however are on the qui vive the whole time, they kind of pounce at things. They perch on the wooden edge of the raised beds and look every whichway. I like the splash of colour that they bring to what has been a spell of grey gloomy weather.  Anyway, inspite of the sun coming out this evening and there being a spectacular brief flowering of pink and peach clouds, following a sudden flowering of blue sky and piled up white clouds, I don’t have the time to go out “walkies”, so instead decided to look into my expansion drive to find some old photographs of two robins that flew into the conservatory (aka glassy lean-to) a couple of summers ago.  I only managed to get both robins together in one shot.  Anyway, the colours are cheerful.  And … the first snowdrops are out in the garden.  Can spring be far behind.  In the Borders, probably.  All the same….

January 19, 2014 - Posted by | Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Cara, I was just this morning telling my husband how fearless and often cheeky British robins are. Your photos are so timely! (and lovely!)


    Comment by Maggie Beck | January 19, 2014 | Reply

    • Thanks, Mary, nice to hear from you. I felt like some brightness, so looked up these photographs of the robins that came flitting indoors. They do appear to be looking quizzically at people, robins. Just bought a bird feeder in a sale nearby, so will put it up so I can see it from the studio window; and can maybe attract more birds with more varied food, and less danger from nearby cats….


      Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | January 20, 2014 | Reply

      • We will need brightness here with snow due again tomorrow. I will be sure to look at these photos at some time again during the storm! Warmly, Maggie


        Comment by Maggie Beck | January 20, 2014

      • Hi Maggie – Please forgive me for writing “Mary” in my reply to your last comment, just carelessness. Hope the snow doesn’t cause too much damage. We have had such a mild winter here SO FAR, we are just hoping that we don’t get hard frosts to set back all the sprouting plants and lively birds. Good luck with the storm, hope it all passes over OK. Really enjoying your seashore blogs, you see so much….


        Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | January 23, 2014

      • Good morning, Cara!
        We had 13″ on Tuesday, and the high temps have not gone above 14F. It is really quite nasty! All my rosemary has completely died off, and the shrubs are all weighed down under the ice and snow. I will be at the shore this weekend, but not quite sure I want to brave going to the beach! More snow, lesser amounts, on both Saturday and Monday. We have a houseful coming to the shore house for a baby shower this weekend and hope they are not stymied by the weather. I have spoken with the family in Mindrum, Northumberland, and they, too, remarked at the relatively mild weather you are having. Let’s hope our weather does not cross over to you with the west wind! Have a nice weekend, Maggie


        Comment by Maggie Beck | January 24, 2014

      • Oh Maggie, what a hard time you are having over there. Just today I was thinking how nice it was that our rosemary had survived the winter, it’s so sad when plants die; but you will get some more, I am sure. Mind you we have had bad winters here, one studio nearby had its roof caved under the weight of snow, and we had quite a lot of damage here from snowfall off the roof landing on plants (and there are some headless ducks still by the little pond – china, of course). But this year so far and touch wood has been the mildest I can remember. I do hope that the baby shower went off all right and was enjoyed by all. Look forward to your next images, snow or no snow. Just as a postscript, when I lived in Berwick I remember one year the edge of the sea was half frozen, it looked very strange and sluggish, with all this ice in it. Hope things warm up with you soon.


        Comment by Cara Lockhart Smith | January 26, 2014

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