We have a beautiful poplar from our neighbour's garden, hanging low over our fish pond in our courtyard. Every spring, for the last three years - as soon as the tree breaks out with its young leaves, we've had a little weaver bird come and build his nest there. He always selects that branch closest to the pond water.
It's been a saga. He was always a beautiful little fellow. But this last year I see that he's bigger and more entirely bedecked with yellow. The colour of butter - but shot through with the glow of phosphorous. And I certainly am not his only admirer. Because this year he found two equally charming - though less colourful - little girlfriends - who condescended to check out his handiwork for themselves. They flew around for a short half day - but never returned.
My poor little weaver was ever optimistic. He straddled his feet across the branches above his handiwork - that precarious little nest - and quivered and called - for the best part of 3 weeks. Every now and then he would dash off and find yet another blade of grass - or a thread pulled from our palm tree leaves, and he'd 'tweak' his creation - to bring it to perfection. Then he'd repeat those extraordinary long low clicks - by way of a song - and then flutter his wings in a kind of quivering excitement - hoping to get noticed, hoping to get some interest in his handiwork.
Well. The day came when he must have simply given up. I came back to find his nest shattered into hundreds of pieces of grass - and fallen into the pond and around it. I am not sure if this was done by himself or by his girlfriends. But that's been his history now for the last three years. And he's now, nowhere to be found.
I'll keep my fingers crossed that he'll be back again next year. And who knows? Perhaps next year he'll manage that perfect little nest that someone will want to share with him.