AS every gardener knows, robins are confiding companions, hopping around upturned earth ready to pounce on any insects, larvae and worms revealed. This is thought to be an extension of their natural behaviour during millennia in following large animals like wild boar which root around in the earth.

This spring I watched a pair of robins coming and going into the leylandii hedge behind our kitchen, obviously nest building. They stopped occasionally while the female solicited food from its mate with wing fluttering and open beak in the manner of a young bird.

During nest building and egg laying the male can supply over a third of the female’s food with the extra nutrition important at a time when a complete clutch of up to six eggs can represent 90% of her body weight.

I did not investigate the nest site, for robins may desert a nest if they think it has been discovered and there are too many sharp-eyed predators lurking around the garden - crows, magpies, squirrels and cats.

I waited hopefully for the appearance of fledglings and was rewarded one morning with an individual freshly emerged from the nest (pictured), waiting to be fed by a nearby anxious parent.

Later, during the recent hot spell this or another juvenile, now bigger with the yellow gape reduced, was sensibly cooling off with a bath in one of our ponds. I have not seen young birds since and the truth is that few nestlings make it to adulthood but I am still hoping for the appearance of new young for robins usually have at least two broods a year with three or even four broods on record.

They are intelligent birds which pick up on new potential food sources. After ten years of moth trapping, this year there have been almost no moths on the outside of the trap in the morning. I realised that these must have been taken by the sweet-voiced assassin which often serenaded me from a nearby tree when I appeared to empty it.

In fact as soon as I would remove one of the plastic sheets to examine the contents it would be perched beneath my nose, needing to be shooed away to stop it entering and helping itself to the helpless comatose moths within.

One morning it appeared without its tail, presumably having experienced a near miss with a cat or our local sparrowhawk, an indication that its world involves a constant battle for survival, either eat or be eaten, kill or be killed.

Wharfedale Naturalists Society, a registered charity, was formed in 1945, and over the decades has been observing, recording and helping the wildlife of the River Wharfe catchment area in the Yorkshire Dales.

The society’s recording area extends from the source of the Wharfe, on Cam Fell, to Rougemont Carr, below Poole in West Yorkshire.

To find out more about the society have a look at its website which offers an abundance of information, programme of events and videos.

It can be viewed at: