Saturday, 7 December 2013

Birds of a feather

I really must learn to pay more attention to what I am doing - or what I am supposed to be doing.  Take yesterday, for instance.  There is a glaring example of what I am talking about in that I started writing the daily notes with a subject in mind to which I was leading up.  It was all about arriving home late the night before and what we heard when we got out of the car, but then I was led miles off course, wittering on about turkeys and chickens and such.

Although now I come to think of it, I was not exactly miles off course in my wittering as it was at least about birds, just not the birds I had intended to mention.

We live in a city, although not in the centre but in the suburbs where the houses have gardens of a reasonable size.  We are also quite close to open countryside and woodland so we are accustomed to see a reasonable variety of birds.  There are house sparrows aplenty, despite the fact that their numbers are supposed to be falling quite rapidly, but I find it surprising that we see very few starlings, a bird which was at one time in our gardens in greater numbers than any other.  Blackbirds, blue and great tits, robins, wrens, hedge sparrows, chaffinches, greenfinches etc etc are seen regularly.  We sometimes see a jay or two but the usual members of the crow family are the magpie, jackdaw and rook.  What we don't see are owls - but as we got out of the car on Thursday night, both the Old Bat and I heard one calling.

It is in France that I see any owls, usually the barn owls just as dusk is turning into night.  I didn't see any on this last trip, possibly because by the time I was going out in the evening the dusk had given way to full darkness.

There is a track runs up beside our house in France, leading to a farm and a large house.  This is how it looks in the early morning, just as the sun is coming up, with a touch of frost on the grass.

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