McNofly Manor revisited

Vainglorious. That’s me today.

Okay, that’s *probably* over-stating things a tad, as I am generally not given to show-offy tendencies at all. But I AM feeling very pleased and whilst it’s not really that I’m pleased with MYSELF so much, I’m owning the whole being pleased thing, big time.

You may recall a couple of weeks back I was very sad after having found the wreckage of a nest in my garden, not far from where it had, only the day before, been the very first home of some baby house martens. Not just ANY house martens, but most likely the offspring of my favourite little chap from last year, Marty McNofly. Devastated would not be far from how it felt to find the forlorn remains strewn amongst my dahlias. If you didn’t read that lament (why not?) then you can catch up here.

I left the story half-untold really, which is unlike me, I’m sure you’ll agree. I was vainly *wishing* and *hoping* that everything would somehow turn out alright. I’m not one for praying in almost any circumstances, but I came as close as I’ve ever been than day… putting my blind faith in a really rather unlikely possibility that some ‘good’ would come of the manifestly darker side of nature. I knew my wishing and hoping would likely count for little in the bigger scheme of the cosmos.

The Crazy Gang started to construct an extension to last year's nest...
The Crazy Gang started to construct an extension to last year’s nest…

Whilst humans continue to edge ever-closer to total annihilation, with nations plucking innocents from the sky and blasting them into Kingdom Come, with retaliation and retribution being the immediate reactions to aggression and blitzkreig being uppermost in everyone’s mind this hot and humid summer, imagine my joy at finding that my one small prayer has been answered – someone is listening out there. Someone, some sublime and Super Natural Being seems to have heard my silent plea and has righted this wrong. I don’t know if they are the same baby house martens or not, but I can now report that we have two beautiful families of house martens living in semi-detached luxury outside my FAB hubby’s study, only a few feet from the back door! Actually, there are three other families of martens attached the the Grange as well, but I am fairly sure they were all there a couple of weeks ago too, so it’s unlikely that they are the relocated little family from my earlier panic.


Just a day or so after the lost nest fiasco, we noticed additional activity around one of the other nest sites attached to the house. Last year it had been home to a small family of martens and now it seemed they needed some kind of extension… an annexe was being constructed! Many of the Crazy Gang seemed to be involved in the rennovation project and soon two complete nests sat side-by-side, just like many other suburban semi-detached home. Oh, and whilst they were about the job, they also put in a rather grand viewing deck on the other side…

Two tiny mouths
Two tiny mouths
Nope... there's definitely three!
Nope… there’s definitely three!

By the 11th of July we began to notice that babies were chirruping vociferously from within both sides of the nest. I caught sight of one little bird, with barely any feathers, just a large yellow opening where parent birds deposited every offering.

One tiny marten with hardly any feathers, begs for food
One tiny marten with hardly any feathers, begs for food

At first, we thought there was only two, but by the next day, we realised there were definitely three little mouths to feed on each side. Six new babies! Yay!

By the next visit, there were three cherubs smiling at me!
By the next visit, there were three cherubs smiling at me!
Two little cuties check me out
Two little cuties check me out

The parents have been increasingly busy, feeding hungry little mouths is a challenging business.

Feed me NOW!
Feed me NOW!
Parental duties are never-ending!
Parental duties are never-ending!

I took every opportunity to catch glimpses of the babies and they haven’t disappointed. Each day as their confidence has grown they have continued to venture closer to the edge of the nests – a couple of days ago one almost fell out as he hovered so precipitously close to disaster.

A juvenile marten shows the babies the great view from the deck...
A juvenile marten shows the babies the great view from the deck…

The Crazy Gang, as we have dubbed the group of martens, seem to take turns to feed and amuse their youngsters. Just yesterday, I spotted this juvenile sitting on the extra ‘viewing deck’, adding a little mud here and there and encouraging the little ones to hop out onto the deck for a better view of the world.

Brave little Marty Junior has made it out onto the deck!
Brave little Marty Junior has made it out onto the deck!

This morning, when I checked on them, the bigger, braver chick had made it to the deck. He was hoping to be fed from there, but the adults bringing food seemed to think that this was now unneccesary and I expect when I go out later on today that he’ll already have fledged, fully. It is such a joy to see them, especially after what happened.

I’ll be sad when they leave us, simply because Summer will be over and we’ll be preparing for winter once more. Such is the Circle of Life.

It’s just a shame that humankind seems so hell-bent on destroying itself and everything else besides. Maybe I need to wish for greater understanding and peace among humans. Who knows who’s listening?


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