Its spring in London too, and I spent a happy couple of days visiting my lovely granddaughter, who is now 10 months old.
Also visiting her were two amazing visitors - I couldn't believe my eyes. Two jays are setting up home in the silver birch tree at the bottom of the garden. In central London!
I watched this one sidle along the fence and bend down and extract the snails that you can see, hiding under the top rail. One was a bit difficult, and so he attempted a sort of hummingbird manoeuvre - that was not only inelegant but unsuccessful.
Ive lived in the country for over thirty five years and only seen a glimpse of chestnut and turquoise as one disappeared into woodland. What a privilege to watch these two at close quarters (from the comfort of the house) collecting nesting material, and even screeching at the local cats who also use the fence top as a means of travel.
"Although they are the most colourful members of the crow family, jays are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. The screaming call usually lets you know a jay is about and it is usually given when a bird is on the move, so watch for a bird flying between the trees with its distinctive flash of white on the rump." say the experts. Hmmm.
Here she is, plus two bottom teeth, with another huge one at the top that you cant see and one only days away! She is an incredible mimic, and can copy movements in an instant (such as her mother shaking her massage oil out of a container onto a palm, luckily the lid was firmly back on!)
It only seems yesterday that she couldnt understand how to make the lights and buttons on this work, they were totally unfathomable to her, and now she is a smooth operator - even if her standing is a bit shaky!
What beauties they are, I love them to bits.