It’s on evenings such as this that I realise quite how lucky I am. Almost as soon as we were back from work it was straight down to the river to see if there were any fledgling Dippers or Grey Wagtails about. No luck on that score but we did turn up a young Goldcrest and came to the conclusion that just about every house in our village must have at least one pair of House Sparrows nesting within its roof. Furthermore the very fact that we were able to embark on such a hunt straight from our front door shows just what a privileged location we live in.
Back home (and boasting over) it was out into the garden to try and capture on camera any of the marauding Goldfinches which are currently eating me out of house and home. Not only do they seem to adore Sunflower hearts (expensive) but they’re also incredibly picky eaters meaning that much of the seed ends up being thrown to the ground (annoying). Expensive tastes and finicky eaters lead to a rather large bill at the pet shop each week let me assure you of that. You’d think therefore that after so much pampering they’d be all too willing to pose for a couple of snaps. Yeah right. Instead they spent the first twenty minutes or so circling the house or doing quick flybys, all the time uttering a garbled series of clicks, squeaks and squawks. I really don’t know how else to describe it. Eventually they seemed to get a good sense that I was no threat and finally began to perch on the feeders for more than a couple of seconds. By the time I called it a night you couldn’t shift them for love nor money.
Goldfinches weren’t my only vocal companions as I was briefly joined by a small flock of House Martins overhead. Oh what I’d give to have them nesting on our own property. Even better was that two of our Bullfinches stopped by, a male and female whose whispering type call held an incredibly endearing quality. They always stuck to the shadows however, no doubt feeding on some of the seed discarded by those pesky Goldfinches, so this was the best I managed to get.
What I hadn’t been expecting was for this male Blackbird to perch up right in front of me. At first it had a beak full of some grub or other but as soon as that was devoured it spent a good while just studying my position. I obviously passed the test as he then flew down to the ground and started the search for his next meal, always keeping one eye on what I was up to. I like to think that we’d arrived at a kind of mutual understanding from which both sides benefited. Him protection from the cats and me a couple of decent photographs.
Also about was what I now know to be just one of at least two Dunnock pairs which visit us on a regular basis. The other pair includes an individual with a rather nasty sore on its face but both the birds I watched tonight were in pristine condition. Best of all they sat in a shaft of sunlight surrounded by many of the plants which we’ve grown in recent years to attract the birds in. The fact that that they are helping to provide a natural setting for photography is just an added bonus. Now all I need to create are a few less metallic perches as they do rather spoil the effect.
Sadly the Greenfinches didn’t turn up until I’d retreated indoors for some food of my own but what a joyous couple of hours spent in the company of our feathered friends. I even managed to forget about the exam I’m supposed to be revising for, if only for a little while.