Friday 10 July 2020

Small fluff balls

Yesterday I had a work meeting which I conducted entirely from an armchair which faces out of the window. From it I can see my entire garden, as well as many neighbouring gardens. I've been rather busy of late and the early lockdown days of window gazing are largely a thing of the past, particularly as the list of possible sightings has shrunk dramatically. But there is still interest to be had as the season progresses, and yesterday was my first realisation that I should be more alert to what is happening. Like a proper birder.

The trees were alive with young birds foraging. Movement everywhere - I did not know where to look. Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackcaps, Goldfinches and most happily of all, House Sparrows. They seem to be making a real comeback in my area. When I lived in Becktonia we had ivy on the front of our house in which nested close to triple figures of House Sparrows. When we moved to Wanstead the silence was deafening, but gradually the chirp of the House Sparrow is becoming part of my personal background soundscape again. At one point two fluffy Blue Tits and a downy House Sparrow flew up to my window boxes. The Blue Tits hung acrobatically off the smallest stems picking seeds delicately from the flower heads, whereas the chunkier Sparrow simply landed on the balcony rail for a look before deciding it was all too much like hard work and returning to the tree. In short it was lovely - it has been a long time, too long, since I simply sat and watched a mixed flock doing what they do, and this unique vantage point I have looking down at the top of a tree means I get great views. I am hopeful that when autumn truly gets going I might get things like Willow Warbler through. Let's see.

Talking of autumn, for waders and sea birds it is already underway. Enviable tales of Shearwaters, rare Terns, Waders and even an Albatross have found their way into my conscious. Sitting here in Wanstead, a million miles from all of it, I find I am missing the sea. Our family holiday to Croatia in August has just this past week gone the way of all my other trips, and so now with no plans in August whatsoever I wonder whether a little sea-watching might be on the menu? Take a tent perhaps, or sleep in the car as in days of yore...

Bridges of Ross a long time ago.

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