It’s all about the birds

This was the last week of 30 days wild and we’ve managed a few trips out this week.

Last weekend we went to Hill Hook, which was recommended in an email from the 30 Days Wild team. We had an enjoyable stroll around the lake, and watched a wren fetching and carrying things to build a nest inside some ivy. Later we had a picnic on top of Barr Beacon and watched the swallows. They skimmed along at ground level – coming really close to us. There were a couple of times it seemed as if they were going to crash right into us, but they banked at the last moment and missed us by a few inches. I’ve never been so close to a swallow before but they’re obviously not as timid as I have always assumed them to be.

Another day, I spotted a buzzard sitting on top of the direction sign as we came off the M6. I’ve seen buzzards circling overhead on the motorway many times, and I’ve heard that they can be seen sitting on the road signs, but I’d never seen that myself before. That is definitely my favourite buzzard sighting ever.

I’d never make a serious birdwatcher, because I get just as excited about seeing sparrows as I do about buzzards and swallows. We spent a day in the Cotswolds this week, and had lunch at Hidcote gardens. There were lots of sparrows hopping round under the tables picking up any crumbs that had been dropped by visitors. I think sparrows are really beautiful birds – they remind me of patchwork quilts with all the different colours and patterns woven into their feathers.

We had another day out this week to Poncysyllte, Britain’s highest aqueduct. After walking across the top of it, we strolled down to a nearby bridge to look back at it from below. And there on the bridge was a yellow wagtail. I’ve seen pied wagtails and grey wagtails before, but this was my first yellow one. He was an active little fellow, flitting from the top of the bridge, to a ledge about half way down, down to a rock in the middle of the river, across to a rock on the other side of the river, back up to the top of the bridge, and then off again in the same circle – over and over.

No daytrips today, but I enjoyed watching the power struggle in my back garden. This morning there were several magpies in my garden – taking advantage of the newly-filled bird bath, and pecking at whatever they could find on the lawn. All was peaceful until the squirrel arrived. Usually the squirrels in our garden arrive in twos or threes, but today there was just one, and he wasn’t happy to see the magpies there already. If I was a betting woman, I would have put my money on 4 magpies against one squirrel but the squirrel won. He raced at each one individually until it took flight, and then he charged at the next one. If any of them dared to land back on the lawn, the squirrel ran full-tilt at them until they took flight again. Eventually the magpies gave up and decamped to the next-door-neighbour’s garden. The squirrel didn’t get to lord it over the garden for long though. A big crow landed right in the middle of the garden. The crow eyed the squirrel and the squirrel eyed the crow. The squirrel took a few tentative steps towards the crow, which ruffled it’s feathers and strutted confidently towards the squirrel. The squirrel hesitated for a moment or two, and then scarpered!

I’ve watched quite a lot of different types of creatures over the last 30 days, but this week it’s been all about the birds.

Related posts: It’s all about the winged things, It’s all about the little things, It’s all about the stolen moments