Thursday, 5 March 2009

Dipping is fun... Snakes & Wrens... A different world!

As promised, I was up early. I awoke at 4am, & pondering the corridors of my mind… now there’s a trip for one brave heart to take! By 5.20 I had not slept again so up I got in preparation for my adventure! Unfortunately, the dog got up too! When she saw me adorning my coat & wellies the stump started wagging! “Sorry sweetheart, its not time yet & there are SOME things Mummy has to do alone”. I vowed to take her out after my mission, & she settled down again, albeit with those big brown eyes looking sad. By 5.40 I had reached the edge of the stream (what a game in the dark) & I had made my way up high to a walled area (there are a few of these due to mining activity, eerie & covered in moss). I settled down beneath the undergrowth. I heard it, bellowing that beautiful tune within minutes. Impatient as ever, & thinking “I want it” I decided to move closer & immediately it was flushed (& not to be seen again!) I decided to settle down & wait to see if it returned. It was heaven… I’ve never heard a dawn chorus like this one… it really is a different world in that darkness just before dawn. At one point a thought came to me.. “What could be lurking in this undergrowth I’m in - snakes maybe? I know we have Adder, Grass & Smooth Snakes in the British Isles, but most importantly, do they bite?”… I had not considered this last night… oh well I thought, what a way to go… I‘m in it to win it now - as I usually am when I set my mind on something! I had my hand on a branch, just in case I needed to pull myself up to make a sharp exit! Well… it was creepy in there! There were so many birds, singing & flitting about I could hardly believe it, & they had no problem with me being in their space (I'm sure they knew I was there). Suddenly I felt the presence of a small bird, which landed above me (about 2ft above my head) on a branch… it started singing… a Wren & I relaxed to take it all in. Within seconds a Blackbird (a monster, compared to the petite Wren) landed on the top of the branch, which I had my hand on… I felt the movement penetrate my hand… I stopped breathing… (not for too long mind!)… this is what birding is all about I thought to myself.
They both moved on eventually & with no sign of the newby I decided to have a wander before cramp set in! I walked up stream, listening to the Wrens, Blackbirds, Robins, C Crow, Thrush & all the others that fade into the chorus. It was so loud but peaceful & I have never seen so many birds in such a short space of time. I can recommend this experience to anyone (especially if you have a stressful life… perfect therapy!)
Having dipped, but feeling pleased with my experience I returned to Wuffa at 6.45... She was waiting by the front door… walkies… (we agreed not to tell the Abbot & he would take her for a 10 minute wander (as usual) when he rose from his bed!) We saw 3 Redwing on our walk (which I would not have seen had I been sat in the garden!)
At 7am, seated in the garden, feeders full, warm drink… I counted: Blackbird 5, H Gull 2, C Crow 4, Woodpigeon 4, Chaffinch 3, Goldfinch 2, Blue Tit 1, Coal Tit 2, Firecrest (still hanging around), H Sparrow 8, Starling 12 (& greedy as usual), Robin 1, Magpie 2, Gt Tit 2, LT Tit 2, Blackcap (F), Jackdaw 2.
I saw the F Pigeons as usual at work & waiting in the doctors surgery for mother at 5.55pm... looking through the window, I saw 50+ Corvids on some sort of mission!
Tomorrow… well what do you think?… I’m doing it all again!

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