Rural Reading - Bird BonanzaBy Adrian Lawson
January 23, 2009
My walks are not the same without my dog Jez who, as I wrote last week, recently passed away and I am really grateful for all the kind support I have had since.
But because I have three other dogs I have been out and about as usual, and most of the time I have been out in the dark. Which hasn’t lifted my despondency much. Until today.
I went out after dawn not before as I have done all the previous week, the sun was shining and the air was clear. The frost glistened on the ground and the puddles scrunched under foot.
The countryside was simply magical, and the wildlife felt the same way too.
In the tops of the alders down by the river, siskins filled the air with their twittering little calls, and occasionally flew in little groups from the top of one tree to the top of the next. The drab little dunnock sat on a fence post and sung his short and melodious little song, and all around the monotonous calls of the great tit filled the air.
A pair of jays demonstrated great team work, as one recovered a long buried acorn from the frosted soil its partner kept guard nearby, driving away a pair of magpies that were intent on robbing the bounty.
I watched for a while, and eventually the magpies grew hungry and gave up, so both jays started feeding at the same time.
On my way back I spotted a heron and stopped to watch it hunched deep in its feathers. A cormorant drifted slowly past, and for a fleeting moment these two large fish-eating birds were a few feet away from one another.
During the walk I met several friends with their dogs. I was dreading meeting them a week ago, but today it was easier, distracted by all the wildlife and the spectacular weather. They were all kind and sympathetic, it was surprising how many of them knew about Jez.
I came home and quietly put my hat and gloves down and went to the back window – Jez lies down the end of the garden.
As I gazed out of the window I was amazed to see the garden teeming with life, countless birds of all sorts sitting in the branches, hanging from the feeders, even a little goldcrest scurrying up the ivy covered birch right outside the window.
A lot of things seemed to be helping to close that chapter for me.