Thursday, 19 February 2009

Gifts and shockers

This morning I had set up the class to talk about an object - you know, describe what it looks like, what it's made of, what it is for, what it means to you...

Just before I left the house this morning, the youngest of our three cats shot into the house with what looked like a tennis ball made of raffia and flock in her mouth.

A bird's nest, with three tiny orange-tinged eggs in it.

We think it is a sunbird nest.

The eggs were still warm (possibly because they'd been in Roxy's mouth) but there was no way we could have persuaded a parent bird to sit on them again. So that's three little birdies that will never say tweet tweet tweet.

Oh dear.

A mog is a mog, and they will hunt, but having three of them does rather tilt the odds in favour of the feline crew as against the feathered prey.

But it did make an excellent talking point for the class. And while I would never disturb or handle a nest in the wild, it is fascinating to see one up close.

It's mainly made of something like reed or dry grass, with a fluffy padding. I can't tell if the fluff is organic, gathered from the Arabian Fluff tree (there is a tree here called the Ghaff and another called Ethel), or gleaned from the discarded matresses of itinerant labourers.

The eggs are cream speckled with orange, with denser colour at the rounded end.

(I wonder, about eggs, whether the pointed end is the end that emerges first... that's one for henhouse experiments.)

Anyway, that was my warmer for the class ... it went downhill from then on.

More on that later.

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