In the category of ” Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the cuttest of them all ?! “, I declare the Scandinavian Long-tailed Tit, winner! I specify “Scandinavian” because here it has a white head while in the rest of Europe it has a wide black eyebrow and is therefore a little less cute (but just a little bit! )…. In my humble opinion, obviously!
While in the mountains, I ventured out to the edges of the fjord, perfectly smooth on this windless and sunny day. On a break, here’s a little Long-tailed tit passing by with its meal in the beak. Here comes another one, but with a big piece of moss this time. Oh my gosh! that was not its meal. They are building their nest. I only have to follow them with the binoculars to find them laid over a nest under construction in a birch fork. What a golden opportunity! While in France they are so often in impenetrable bushes, here I am set at about ten meters, at their high thanks to the slope, watching them go back and forth. I’m taking out everything needed for a watercolor, because tomorrow I’m taking the boat back, and it’s out of the question to come home without an image of that.
But it’s not as simple because the round trips are not so frequent. Indeed, they sometimes come back with sheeps wool and the only pasture is almost two kilometers to the East. It shows such a dedication. Of course, when it comes to animals, especially little ones like these, we always talk about instincts and reflex, and especially not about choice or intelligence. Well I invite anyone who think so to watch these birds weaving spiders webs, another essential ingredient in these nests. With exceptional delicacy and precision, here they are, taking the spider webs to anchor them a little higher at this tip of the bark or around that brindle. Then they move it again to make it fit better, and adjust a piece of lichen or moss to complete the puzzle. They anticipate the rest of the work as the nest will end up being a complete ball with a circular opening for the entrance. Last leg before leaving again, it sinks its chest forcefully in the nest to back-pedal frantically with the legs to pack down the edge! Hilarious! Meanwhile you can feel the boiling impatience of the partner who, with a beak full of lichens, waiting a few centimeters away, only dreams of jumping on the nest to do its part of the work.
On the paper side, it is complicated. Everything is still for long periods of time, and when they are here, it is frantic for one or two minutes. In their absence, I advance my watercolor, head down as I can hear them approaching with their gentle calls. At this point I put the watercolor sheet away, grab the sketchbook and draw as much as I can. They leave, always together, inseparable in work, and I’m taking back my watercolor. After two or three hours of this, as the evening comes and the round trips start to be less frequent, I leave to finish the day by the water, in absolute calm, to the sound of the Red-throated divers displays, under the flight of a White-tailed eagle. A dreamy night on a moss mattress, a few more hours with the tits and the boat comes to pick me up.
Here you see the field images, but more watercolors will come with the help of sketches I was able to do. So this isn’t the last image of these champions of cuteness you’ll see here.