Did you take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch? I have been doing it for the RSPB in January for years now, but I can’t remember exactly when I started, or which birds I have recorded. And this is odd.
Husband designed a bird table suitable for our sloping garden in Bulford when Eldest was a toddler. It was just outside the sitting-room patio doors and provided endless entertainment. A couple of highlights, though for different reasons: a sparrow hawk flew in in front of my eyes and grabbed a blue tit for it’s lunch, and a regular visitor took understandable action. A squirrel was a source of amusement rather than irritation, particularly when he decided that this ‘magic’ refilling larder was worth stealing, and he set off with the empty nut holder and failed to work out how to get it through the chain link fence. It took the rest of the afternoon to decide not to bother.
Over the years I’ve got better at identifying the birds I see, and I therefore see more variety. Those little brown birds it turns out are not all sparrows!
On Saturday morning I had all the usual garden birds: house sparrows, dunnocks, wrens, chaffinches, blackbirds, collar doves, a pigeon, jackdaws, great tits, blue tits, a robin, starlings and a magpie; the excitement was a female bullfinch that I needed a book to identify.
But there are no lists from previous years. I don’t know what or how many I may have seen. As I said, this is odd as I’m a bit of a list fan.
I have everyday lists of grocery requirements, jobs needing doing around the house, garden or village, meals to cook, people coming to a church fete meeting… And then I have notebooks. There’s one with lists of cards and presents sent and received at Christmas since we were married. Another has an annual entry for each girl about her birthday. Yet another tells me who’s been to supper and what I fed them. But the longest running tells me at one end what I saw at the cinema or theatre, where and with whom, and at the other end which books I’ve read. I’m on my third exercise book.
It is a history of fashion, of friendship, and it takes me back to where and when. I expect I’d better be more organised about the birds so I’ve got something to read in my dotage.