Thursday 9 February 2012

Birds at War

Well, as I went running down past London Road lake, still rather slippery in places, and up from the sky came some piercing shrieks.

Black Headed gulls were having an aerial battle over some piece of possibly edible detritus.

Ran down Clay Lane a little way. Three rats ran past a startled Dunnock and buried themselves in a pile of damp brown hay.

Running between Clay Lane and Beacon Hill estate, a kestrel swooped low across the path of mud and ice, straight over my head. And then, rising slowly from the stand of trees, up came a Buzzard, slow wing beats clawing the thin cold air. And just as it got to some sort of maintainable altitude - fat chance finding thermals today! - a couple of crows came hurtling out of a tree and set about mobbing it, vicously harrying it as the poor majestic fellow tried to get on his way to look for dead carcasses to eat. I watched them for a couple of minutes and a couple of hundred yards, they never let up, even when they were but dots in the distance.

So, the sky was rather full of aerial dogfighting today.

But that wasn't it for interesting sights. Up on Beacon Hill reserve by that fascinating bit of chemical steampunk tech and what I call Butterfly Corner, I saw a few goldfinches fly across me, but up in the tree tops on the opposite side of the path, feeding on some sort of bud or seed poddy things, was a large flock of very noisy chattering and chuntling finch type birds. Dark faces and heads, but really hard to see clearly in the flat grey light against the sky. Striated undersides by the wings. For all I know, hungry house sparrows. Could nver get a clear look.

And then on a little park near home, on the little katonyaster type trees that no bird usually seems bothered about compared to my holly tree, th Redwings have arrived in town. These most pretty of birds, and like the Fieldfares, a sure sign that the countryside is frozen and foodless.

Frozen and foodless. Just like me!

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