Posts Tagged "from my desk"

Goldfinch Mornings

Robins and Blackbirds. Blackbirds and Robins. Sometimes Wren. Sometimes Dunnock. Over the years that has been the story of morning birdsong I hear from my desk in breeding season.

Until this year, when a new regular joined the band. Joined and stayed for every morning performance. Goldfinches.

Their song, varying between the strident and forceful to wistfully melodic, has cut through this year. Cutting through over the noise of human activity in the mornings, cutting through over the “badger badger” beat of car stereos. Perhaps because of an increase in numbers – I’m certainly being charmed by occasionally seeing charms of goldfinches in the street – perhaps because I’m listening more closely.

They are elusive creatures, however. I’m hearing them in the morning an awful lot more than I’m seeing them. It seems they may be singing from just out of my view, no matter how I crane my neck to find the source of their tinkling tunes. When I do get to see them, perched in the lime tree just outside the window, it makes my morning.

“They look like little parrots” one neighbour said. They look like great treasures to me. 20 years ago, I was thrilled to see a little charm of goldfinches for the first time, when I flushed them accidentally while walking in the depths of the English countryside. Now they’re in my street. Not only here, but by the evidence of some of their activity it looks like they’re staying…

Be happy in your home, little parrots, great treasures. You’re making me happy by being here.

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Crow Patrol Uncovered

For weeks I’ve been watching an ongoing battle of crow versus squirrel from the comfort of my desk. Its a battle that has been rather one sided, it seemed, with squirrel repeatedly just managing to escape a very determined crow who pursued it very intently. Around trees, over hedges, across the road, its been loud and intense.

“Wait, is that Crow coming???”

Now the reason for all this aggression has been revealed – the crows have got a fledgling!

I spotted it hunkered down in a neighbours garden, just before one of the parent birds did a fly-by warning of squirrel, who was clinging to the trunk of a street tree. The crows must have been repeatedly warning or chasing off squirrel from their offspring, as egg or chick. Squirrels are, of course, notorious nest raiders. Top parenting job there, crows.

I’m not so sure that fledgling has developed too many crow smarts yet, however. After squirrel was warned and thought that going in the other direction was a good idea, both crow parents had to work together to see off a neigbourhood cat who had spied the fledgling’s vulnerable location. It was noisy work and a lot of effort mobbing the cat before it was dissuaded from its stalking. Meanwhile, the fledgling watched all the action atop a gate post.

“My dad can fight your dad!”


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Dancing in the street

Plenty to enjoy looking out of the window at from my desk this morning.

You know its quiet outside when the sparrows can happily feed in the street! The usual little flock of 6-8 birds has been busy all morning. Apparently the collective noun for sparrows is a quarrel of sparrows, but they’ve been far too mellow for that this morning.

Not feeling quite so mellow was squirrel, who looked on high alert before disappearing into a hedge. Perhaps that’s because he knew that…

…crow was about, the same crow who has been desperately chasing squirrel for a tasty meal for days. So far squirrel is winning, but crow only needs to win once.

Meanwhile, blackbird don’t want none of your drama – because they’ve been generating plenty themselves, rival males with overlapping territories have been chasing each other up and down the verges. Once they were finally done the starling fledglings who have moved into the street were able to emerge and get down to feeding on the verges.

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