Posts Tagged "weather"

Of sparrows & squirrels, Patch Walk 20th June 2018

A soft rain starts to fall as I step out of the door. I could go back in and get a waterproof, its probably the sensible decision, but…no, its a very welcome chance to take a walk in the summer rain. Grasp the chance and go.

Up the road there’s a sparrow trying to hover by a garden wall, trying to pick insects off the wall. Then, it flies up to the eaves of a nearby house and disappears. Hang on, did I just see what I think I saw? I watch a while longer, seeing other sparrows coming and going from the same spot below the roof. Could it really be a sparrow nesting colony? I’ve had sparrows in my garden and on my feeders for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never seen where they’ve nested before. I’m very excited that this might be it! Best of all, they’re nesting in the house where the new occupants replaced their whole garden with astroturf. Nature fights back…

Nature also fights back on the back lane, when the soft rain turns into a sudden deluge. I shelter under a tree for a while, enjoying watching how the rain can turn even the most unappealing looking nook or crannie into something with a dash of magic.

As the rain softens again I head off towards the copse, enjoying seeing some interesting wall decorations along the way. Not entirely sure how this dandelion managed to root itself, but its undeniably impressive work!

In the copse the wind is stirring the trees into wild dances, the leaves acting like giant sails. The sound of it is glorious, but its the only sound I do hear in the copse today. Despite waiting and watching the bushes at the edge of the road for a while all I see today is a pair of drenched woodpigeons.

The rain seems to have emptied the park, I’ve got the place practically to myself. The tree cover is so dense in parts that there’s still no rain on the ground beneath some of them. Very useful when you’re standing and watching wildlife and I expect the robins at the robin spot find it useful too.

Only one parent appears to collect mealworms today and interestingly they’re flying off in the opposite direction to where their nest is located when they’ve collected the food. Could they have already fledged from the nest, or is parent robin flying a deliberately deceptive route today?

Onwards, past singing chaffinch and wren and calling great tit, until I’m at the black spruce tree. A shake of nuts and the squirrels start coming.

Its fascinating to see their different personalities at work. From the bold and the brazen, who know exactly where to place themselves to ensure they get a nut, to the cautious and the clever, who watch for an opening from a distance before sprinting in.

One is almost apologetically polite in the way its little face pops into view to ask if it can have a nut.

There’s at least 5 squirrels taking nuts again today, Autumn can’t come soon enough for these little fellows. Once again they eat every single nut out of my bag and I’m left handing out the shelled nuts left in the bottom, as well as I can do, anyway. Buddy the squirrel soon works out the best way to get them.

The robin from the laurel bush is also being brazen in its efforts to make sure that I’ve seen that they’re there and they want some food. They’re instantly on to the nibbles I throw and swiftly joined by the resident blackbird too.

With the food bags empty, its time to go. Its been good to see the patch in the summer rain.

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One Windy Morning

The street trees are at their leafiest now. The wind stirs them, makes them dance to its commands. They flex, they creak, they roar and as they do they make their own music, the counterpoint melody to the wind, symbiotic layers of sound. The orchestra is in full flow.

Its still early, the morning rush has not yet fully begun. The occasional car rolls slowly past. Goldfinches chatter. Blackbird sings. Sparrows cheep. Woodpigeon coos. Crows call, getting louder as they fly past. Front doors get closed. Children shout and laugh. Yet beneath it all is the wind, the endlessly beautiful and magical sound of the wind through the leaves. Whispers shouted loudly, whispers that could tell us such secrets.

Its only the sound of one windy morning, captured by a microphone. Only that and so much more, because in these sounds are more tales than a thousand words or a thousand pictures could tell.

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Patch walk, 14th June 2018

Its cloudy and gloriously windy. I love windy days. The wind in your face is one of the best feelings there is. With trees in full leaf I expected there to be the odd casualty of last night’s stormy weather, but apart from the odd small branch down they seem to have emerged unscathed.

The strong wind that’s still blowing is taking its toll in other ways, however. Birds and insects are largely notable by their absences. Wind like this is unwelcoming to the little ones with wings. One bumblebee who ventures out of the safety of a hedge and catches a tailwind certainly discovers that. Never seen a bee move so fast.

The wild flowers growing beneath the hawthorn hedge on the back lane seem to have benefited from the overnight rain, more bramble and bindweed flowers opening and the avens and nettles have picked up. In the copse a chaffinch is the only voice. Perhaps its been reading my statement that the copse had fallen silent and wanted to prove me wrong. The chaffinch sings and the wind blows through the leaves, a sound I could listen to for hours.

The park is quieter today and the shelter of yew trees at the robin spot means that the robins don’t have to battle the wind to find food. One of the robins is quick to appear and is “Tik!” calling for mealworms. Such a delight to be recognised and trusted by these wild birds. I’d only put down a couple of handfuls before my phone goes. Problems suddenly press in and have to be dealt with. Patchus Interruptus, I have to leave, life and wildlife balanced together just for a moment before human life’s concerns take over for the day.

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