Sunday, 5 June 2011
A Bird in the Bush is Worth........
Hullo ma wee blog,
There are at least thirty sparrows in the flock that sweeps down to litter the driveway at the front of the house this morning, cheeping and jostling for position as they enjoy a dust bath. When fright takes them they leap into the air together and disappear in a whirr of wings into the safety of the hedge a few feet away simply to return to their dusty squabbles a few seconds later. A solitary blackbird is one of the bathers, large and plump by comparison as she goes about her morning ablutions with feathers puffed, short beats of spread wings against the ground. Two or three jackdaws strut self importantly beneath the old pear tree pleased, even though they are too large to cling to the feeder full of seed hanging from its low branch, to have mastered the secret of the upward lunge with its solid thump to release a tiny spew of beady treasures to be jumped on by those waiting just below.
As I sit at the kitchen table tapping this post I'm joined by a tapping from the window by the sink. Without looking I know its the male blackbird, his unique sound signature made by raking his beautiful yellow beak through the seeds on the window tray followed by a stiff legged double hop to settle those most wanted in a layer at the top to be gathered with an eager series of short pecks. The pattern will be repeated again and again until he is stuffed full of seed or scared off by something inconsequential. I know the crafty beggar is a flighty character and will be watching me with a glittering eye, ready to take flight at the first sign of my interest. Only once or twice in the last months have we contemplated each other through the glass from close up for a careful moment before he's indignantly fled. I suspect I was more impressed with his looks than he with mine.
Through the still unopened vertical blind to my left I hear the birds in the back garden; the gruff caw of a jackdaw; the quiet cheep-cheep of a group of chaffinches and the tinkling bell-like notes of a pair of pigeons coming in to land. I hear the sound of wings at the low table where the enameled ashet* of water sits gleaming white and rimmed with blue. The water will be cold from the night's chill and I find myself wondering if it's appreciated as a refreshing early prize when it's so cold. Now though it's time for me to finish blogging and take the tub of seed from the corner behind me out to the garden.
There are hungry mouths to be fed.
*Ashet is an oddly Scottish word for a dish and comes from the days of the Auld Alliance when France was both a military ally and main commercial trading partner. Ashet is the Scots phonetic rendering of the French assiette. For the same reason a leg of lamb is a gigot, but pronounced by Scots with a hard 'g' at the beginning as opposed to the softly accented 'gigot' of modern French
See you later.
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