Thursday 11 May 2017

A big bird day in a suburban garden.

The weather today has been glorious. It had been a trying morning, as a result early on I found myself in the garden seeking solace. I sat in the sun, closed my eyes and tried to ID all the birds I could hear over the strimmer being used in one of the adjacent gardens and the persistent yapping of the neighbour's pug dog.

Once the interest filters kicked in it was good, the sun warmed my face and with my eyes tight shut I could hear the distant strains of a Skylark issuing its proclamation of spring from the heavens. Blackbirds sang, Goldfinches scolded, Sparrows chittered and a single Blue Tit 'tsee-tseed' from somewhere in the trees nearby.

A Skylark issuing its proclamation of spring from the heavens

Over the next hour as I found things to do outside, with eyes open and glancing skyward at every opportunity, I added Starling, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Buzzard and Red Kite, plus a screaming band of Swifts and two Swallows.

Red Kite

I stopped for a rest and a cup of tea with Elis and started to add up the numbers. I got to fifteen then heard a Blackcap some distance away; sixteen. Then the wheezy pulse of a Mute Swan's wings in flight betrayed its passing although views of it were reduced to glimpses between the houses.

Blackcap, the original warbling Warbler
And there, at seventeen, the list might have remained had it not been for a sudden and very emphatic "Cuckoo! ... Cuckoo!" coming from somewhere close by. Glancing up we saw a Cuckoo fly across, spreading its tail as it turned in the air and left us both open mouthed and astounded. I can't remember the last time I have seen or even heard a Cuckoo from any of the various plots of England which I have called home. I can vaguely recall a bird calling far away on a dewy morning in Bushey Heath in Hertfordshire when I was knee high to a Goldcrest.

Due to a lack of Cuckoos in flight pictures, here's a goldcrest instead.

This evening, in the cool of the early night as the blue sky took on a more ashen hue, we were enjoying a glass of Malbec in the garden listening to the lullabies of the Blackbirds; one scolding, one chipping away and a third singing lustily. As they faded a repeated note in the distance told us a Song Thrush was in good voice and as the first star of the night twinkled cheekily overhead a Robin bade us goodnight drawing to a close a delightful day's entertainment brought to us by the local bird ensemble involving a cast of twenty species.

Good night sweetheart!

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