April 06, 2010

This week in wildlife

Days of rain and then sun: every thicket comes alive with birds impatient for spring and all that it means. I took Scout to the Nature Garden this morning and heard wrens, blue tits, great tits, magpies, blackbirds, parakeets, crows and the beautiful, repetitive warbling of a song thrush from deep in the holly. We stalked him, Scout slow on silent paws as I blundered through leaf litter and struggled to shade my eyes from the spring sun pouring dapple-down into the tangled undergrowth. And then there he was, his pale chest giving him away and his beak showing pink in the light when he sang, his small throat working. How lovely were the notes, dropping liquid like mercury down into the tangled garden, each phrase repeated four times, perfected, before he moved on to the next.

The mallard pair was sleeping in the sun at the margins of the pool, the drake with one beady eye on our progress. Thankfully the railings keep Scout from getting at them, though I've seen a fat black cat in there more than once. I wonder if they are native and are here to breed, or a pair overwintering here from Scandinavia. Time will tell; I hope they stay.