…. may be on the mild side, double digits at times, but the songs of the birds fly past on the wind, gone, faster than the speed of sound. The birds though are busy; busy emptying the feeders.
Most of the times the little ones, those WBJs and others, get to squabble among themselves in peace. But there it was the other day, a crow, perching on the prongs of the rusty old clothes pole with his massive black claws, dipping his long, black beak into the tray, gorging, looking monstrous and out of place. And at the edge of the field a jackdaw pecked around, pottering like a black duck out of water.
I notice them because of their colour, and their size, wishing the camera was handy. Meanwhile the thrush is enjoying the remainder of the rowan berries, battling against the wind.
But most of the garden feeders are sheltered, in the lee of high hedges. The maple hedge is bare now, allowing light and breeze to filter through. Below, the hard-packed dirt is peppered with white spots. Its where I’ll often find Lonely, the sole survivor of The Night of The Fox. She’s looking well, new feathers and healthy red comb. She may even be laying again, but I know not where. Traumatised she was for a while, for fox ache.
But up above, deep in the maple, the feeder is back in use. And that’s where the sunflower hearts go. So the birds that don’t bother too much with the seed and the nuts come back. Expensive tastes, and endless appetites. Half a dozen goldfinches queue for a turn, as the chaffies busy themselves, waiting. The brambling’s been around too.
And over at the laburnum the wee brown ones demolish the seed, leaving the nuts for when supplies are low. It gets quite busy over there, mainly chaffies, and sparrows, and dunnocks too. Girl Urchin tells me Mrs Woody still drops by from time to time. It’s the nuts for her.
It is fast and furious, the frenzy at the feeders, and the scratchings down below. Daylight hours are in short supply, meaning that the fast and the roost is long, spanning more than two thirds of the day; but the solstice is upon us at last, and the feeding time will slowly stretch. For now though, it is like watching Urchins at the dinner trough.
But I can’t hear them sing, not even the blackie in the morning, the one that shares the dogwood with the robin, for the wind, the wind, the wind. It’s enough to keep a man off his bike. Any excuse perhaps.
Dunnocks though, a name I’ve always known, a bird we take for granted. Then I looked up my book, the Field Guide, for no particular reason. It’s a Hedge Accentor apparently. Bloody dunnock as far as I’m concerned; WBJ. Hedge Accentor, that’s a new term on me. Dunnock, runs round the mouth so much better.
At the desk though the birds are still singing. The CD plays on, and there’s some downloads from the Radio 4 tweeting that The Sleepy Sparrow was talking about. So when I need to dream of elsewhere I can hear the puffin, and the corncrake. And I know what they are. I can see them, with my eyes closed; and for the latter that’s more than I’ve ever managed with them open.
Now I have to go, for Radio 4 bursts into life again. It’s Borgen time. Oh you thought it was finished did you?
PS And whaddya know, five dark brown eggs lying in the nesting box, the last place I think of looking. What a good girl.