“Weren’t you the one who said that we should go as far as we can without relying on our canti? You’ve given up already?”
“Don’t be silly. We could’ve done that if we were going downstream, but it’s too hard to row against the flow,” Satoru yawned.
“That’s why we were just offsetting that with our cantus so…”
“If you’re going to go to all that trouble, why not just use your cantus to propel the boat in the first place? Anyway, we could always row on the way back.”
It was pointless arguing with Satoru when he was already in lazy-mode. I turned my attention back to the scenery. Looking closely at Maria and Mamoru together, and Shun rowing by himself, I could tell that their canti were doing more than just canceling out the force of the river rushing against them. It seems like it’s only human nature to take the easy way out.
Shun waved at us from the riverbank and pointed at the reeds with his paddle. The other two canoes changed course and headed toward him.
“Look, a great reed warbler’s nest.”
The little nest was built at chest height, so I could see right into it if I stood up in the canoe. The canoe rocked from side to side; Satoru grabbed the sides for balance and peered out at it.
“Woah, it really is. But is it,”
The nest was about seven or eight centimeters in diameter, propped up carefully on three thick reeds. Inside were five small brown-speckled eggs.
“…really a warbler’s nest? It could be a haythatcher’s, right?”
To be honest, I couldn’t, and still can’t, tell the difference between the two.
The haythatcher gets its name from the fact that it builds its nest in fields of silver grass, but in reality, it more often makes it out of reeds near riverbanks.
“It’s the real thing,” Satoru said from his seat. “Haythatchers have to make a lot of nests, plus they don’t raise their young, so their nests are always crude-looking. See how this nest is in a place that’s hard to see from above? Most haythatcher nests are really exposed.”
“Also, you can easily tell from the way the edges of the nest look,” Shun added. “Reed warblers stand on the edge to take care of the young, so the edges are flat, whereas haythatchers just leave it the way it is once it’s finished, so the edges are pointy. Also, warblers sometimes use their own feathers to make the nest. Needless to say, haythatcher nests won’t have any feathers in them.”
Since boys often use fake haythatcher eggs to pull pranks on people, it was no wonder they were so knowledgeable about this. Even though none of us had ever been interested in those foul smelling things.
We made a note of where we found the nest along with a simple illustration of it, and continued on our way, keeping an eye out more.
Summer camp wasn’t just fun and games. It was part of our placement for science courses, so each group had to do research while at camp, and present it when they got back. Ours was a really vague topic called “Species Around the Tone River”. Before we left, we had been having a heated discussion about what exactly we should write about, and had just agreed on a starting point (isn’t that enough already?), when Satoru started telling one of his tall tales as an example.