Sunday, 26 May 2013


                                   KUNG FU WREN

I have been spending way too much time recently watching the pair of Wrens which are nesting in the ivy growing in the rock face just behind our kitchen. They are both working feverishly to find enough food for their recently hatched young chicks.
   I have being trying to photograph them which takes patience but that's not hard as I find that they hold my attention. I guess its because they are such active feisty little birds they give me such a lot of pleasure. This morning I was watching a Bank Vole sitting quietly in the sun on the same rock face just minding its own business when the male Wren came firing in from somewhere out to the left and with a kung fu like lunge flew straight up to the voles face with a shrill song. The vole was as surprised as I was and shot away into a crevice in the rocks to hide. I realised that the Wren must have been defending its nest full of chicks which was some 10 meters away. I don't think the Vole was any real danger but the Wren was taking no chances. 
     It was just an incident which lasted less than 5 seconds between two tiny creatures in my back garden but it made my day to witness it. It had been a privilege to be allowed into the private life of these two common creatures for a moment this morning.
   On the same morning the rain forests in Sumatra and Borneo are being ruthlessly destroyed with predictions that they will be gone within 20 years along with some of the most magnificent creatures on the planet. Sumatran Tigers, Orangutan, Elephant, Sumatran Rhino and countless other beautiful birds, mammals, amphibians. But its not just wildlife, countless people who depend on the forest are being dispossessed and many killed in conflicts as they try to protect their homes.Their lives ruined and the world is being robbed of its great richness and beauty. It is like watching a group of thugs stroll into one of the worlds great art galleries or museums and methodically tear down the painting and burn them or cut them to ribbons with knives. But nobody does anything to stop them. The bloody vandalism has been sanctioned by the gallery staff who just stand around and watch the slow thorough destruction of beauty and wonder. But I believe that the incredible complex vivid beauty of the natural world holds far more wonder and meaning than any work of art made by human hand ever can. 
     Pretty much everywhere the natural world is under severe and increasing pressure just like in Indonesia where more than half the existing rain forest has been felled in just a few years. It was the third largest swathe of rain forest in the world but already permission has been given to convert 70% of what remains into palm oil plantations. Our cousins the Orangutan are in steep decline, only 250-400 tiger remain and less than 100 rhino. Predictions are that they could easily all be extinct in 20-30 years. 
    As well as being our vital life support system the natural world has the ability to make human life so much richer and fill it with wonder and meaning. This morning a little cock wrens kung fu defence of its nest against a viscous killer vole made my day and made me happy despite the intensely depressing war of attrition the human race is waging on the natural world.      

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