Now that there is a distinct chill in the air, never more noticeable than when I cycle to work at 6am, the Pied Wagtails have descended in large numbers to brighten up a gloomy writer.
My mother calls them Willy Wagtails, no idea why, or if this is a generally accepted common name for these twitching, black and white smart little birds. But it suits them rather admirably I'd say, a polite little bird with dress and manners out of another century.
The best time to see them at the moment is 630pm, when I leave the Warehouse after another eleven and a half hours of daydreaming of not being there. The piping whistle gives them away before you look up and see them massing over the warehouse roof against a darkening indigo sky, long tails like tiny black comets; flight undulating like a sine wave. And then as you cycle away, you see them massing on the ground expertly dodging the cars, sitting on the fences, and swooping in little groups Starling like before pulling away at the last minute from the bushes by the lorry park where they seem to have a mass roost.
There is beauty to be found in every brown field wasteland or macadamised car park. If you are strolling by The Bell pub in Slab Square in Nottingham, take a look at the trees outside, especially when they have the christmas tree lights up. There's hundreds of Wagtails in there!
The other fun thing I've been noticing during my late night astronomy sessions - sadly misted out last night before midnight - are fleets of mysterious grey UFOs coming over, eerily lit in the moonlight. Flying in V shaped echelons, their engines emit a mysterious gentle honking noise- my god, what kind of propulsion systems are they using???!!! - and they have a long cockpit section and a chubby fuselage.
Things look different indeed by night. A woodpigeon went by the other night that looked like a giant Vampire Bat by the full moon.