Birds on the Balcony: Hitchcock vs Daphne

Regardless … will somebody please make a Cornish version?

One day this week there was an unusual degree of noise from the crows.  Investigation with the binoculars revealed a tractor working in a field on the skyline across the valley, and behind it, crows clamoured in large numbers.  Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: Hitchcock vs Daphne”

Birds on the Balcony: the swallow is come!

The edges of their wings on the underside are like chequerboards…

I saw my first swallow of the year at Lerryn on April 19th.  There it was – just the one – sitting neatly on a telephone wire.  I was astonished; it seemed so early!  But a few days later they were here, at Highfield, in numbers.  Swooping and plunging, weaving intricate patterns through clear skies with swift sureness of eye and wing.  And from the balcony, I can watch them as often from above as below.  Beautiful and breath-taking grace. Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: the swallow is come!”

Birds on the Balcony: squabblers and mobsters

It does not do to get on the wrong side of a crow

Today I watched two examples of aggressive behaviour that brought home to me how little I know about even the most commonplace of our birds.  The sparrows were particularly quarrelsome this morning: Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: squabblers and mobsters”

Birds on the Balcony: front row seats

What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?

There’s been plenty of domestic bird activity for me to watch lately.  Spring-time is a busy period in the avian calendar.

As April reached the three-quarter point I was charmed by a pair of house sparrows, Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: front row seats”

Birds on the Balcony: civilised rooks and tumbling buzzards and Gilbert

I wonder whether Gilbert would have been able to explain the wonderful buzzard activity I witnessed

I stood at the window for some time when I arrived upstairs this morning.  The birds obligingly came in numbers and posed prettily.  The dull light seemed to amplify their colours.  Quarrelsome chaffinches; fragile long-tailed tits and their slightly larger blue cousins. The smart livery of the great tit, and on the other end of the balcony an especially smart female Woodie fed for long minutes whilst I watched.  Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: civilised rooks and tumbling buzzards and Gilbert”

Birds on the Balcony: woodpecker wars

Now I know what a woodpecker in a bad mood sounds like…

“The whole world is a series of miracles but we’re so used to seeing them that we call them ordinary things.” Hans Christian Anderson.

Last Saturday was a day filled with ordinary miracles.  Here’s the first: Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: woodpecker wars”

Birds on the Balcony: what watching yields

“Hear! hear!” screamed the jay from a neighboring tree, where I had heard a tittering for some time. “Winter has a concentrated and nutty kernel, if you know where to look for it.” -Henry David Thoreau, 28 November 1858, journal entry

A pleasing avian symmetry yesterday: the day began and ended with the call of the pheasant.  My Cornish bird list, based entirely on sightings from the house, currently has 18 entries.  Continue reading “Birds on the Balcony: what watching yields”