Friday 7 October 2011

Nature in the cold before dawn

Now I am back working after my holiday I am faced with the nasty prospect of cycling to work at 5am with the sun a long way off about stretching, making tea and toast and generally shedding some damn light on this miserable world.

Guess you have to try and make the best of it!

The evenings are not yet dark enough to see the clouds of starlings  - starting small but gradually merging until they form bigger and bigger flocks - going about their blackly psychedelic way above the attractive KFC / McDonalds landscape as the nauseating vapours from the sewage farm waft in on a northerly breeze.

But in the mornings, as I cross the lime cycle path that makes a geisha out of my bicycle, I get to see all manner of things. Even as I leave home, I see the weird shadowy  woodpigeons alighting in the sycamore, how sinister they look at night.

As I near work, I see ghostly flashing white tails streaking away in terror at my approach, as the uncountable rabbits that live up on this windswept plateau are started by my grinding bicycle. I always see Wagtails at this time of the morning, the white flashes on their tales undulating in the glow of my wonky bike lights, making that plaintive little whistle of theirs.

But the most spectacular sight was maybe a week or two later this time last year. As I parked my bike up, I could hear twitterings up above. In the glow of the lights that illuminate the signs on the walls, a huge flock of small songbirds was circling. No idea what they were, but there were hundreds of them, spiralling...and it was only that one morning, about 545am. Migrants of soe kind, incoming or outgoing, but a beautiful sight.

And as the cold weather closes in, I wonder if the Wagtails are roosting in the tree outside The Bell pub in Nottingham slab square yet? Sometimes you see hundreds around there.

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