I am beginning to suspect that a hen pheasant is looking for a nest site in our front garden. She seems to spend all day there. It is a walled garden and quite sheltered so a perfect spot once the plants grow a bit more. There is a down side of course, but as the farmer says - it would be exactly the same if she nested in any hedge near to the farm. That down side is the farm cats - would they go after the chicks?
The moment all the chicks are hatched she takes them well away from the nest so that they learn quickly how to hide from any predators. Of course, as it is a walled garden with a couple of gates in it, she wouldn't be able to get them out when they were very small unless we anticipated the day and left the gates open. We shall see.
In the meantime we are amused to see the cock pheasant (he appears to have around half a dozen 'ladies') strutting his stuff. He sticks his long tail high in the air, ruffles is feathers to perfection and marches up and down the garden path. He has no fear of me as I watch him from a landing window - he fixes me with his beady eye and says 'look at me in all my finery'. His little brown, rather dowdy partner scratches around his feet. But of course, when you see her close up she is not dowdy at all, her feathers are beautifully patterned - she is just not such a show off.
And I am reminded of Beau Brummel and Burlington Bertie and all the other famous characters through the ages who have strutted their stuff with their powdered wigs and their fancy velvet trousers which left little to the imagination. And then I think of the whole animal world - of the lion with his enormous mane gathering his pride of less spectacular wives around him. (and who does the work when it comes to a kill I hear you ask?)
Has it changed today with Homo Sapiens? Well I suspect it has. When I look around amongst the younger women they do seem to be the most show-off sex these days while the lads seem to go around in jeans and trainers. And in my age group, while most of the women 'make an effort' as they say, the men tend to be a very conservative lot - in fact any man who 'dares' to be a bit of a show-off dress-wise is viewed with amusement.
I will try to get a photograph of the pair of them some time today if I can. In the meantime - use your imagination and let it run riot.