Thursday, 8 December 2022

Cold, Grave Birds

We awoke to temperatures of minus 1c this morning.  The field opposite had a white sheen of frozen dew, the condensation covered the windows, and while the heating was on the moment I opened the rear window I quickly closed it again!  Too much at 7:30 in the morning!  I wished to rise early and search one particular shop before the crowds gather.  I took the long way round and popped into the graveyard behind the old Congregational Church in the hope of some sunshine glinting on the frost.  I was in time for the birds seeking nourishment, though they insisted on flitting around quickly making it difficult to picture them.  This was the best I could manage, the Robin sitting on the end of a grave deciding whether or not to leap down to the cold grass below.  I caught him just as he leapt behind the solid grave.  This looks like one designed to keep graverobbers out.  Before medical science was better organised medical students would acquire bodies for research, often fresh from graves.  The Ghouls would strike at night, which is why some cemeteries employed guards during the dark hours, and dig up the body and sell to a 'doctor.'  Thus many graves have iron fences, brick walls, or solid brick tombs atop them.  Today, these gather ivy and moss and are welcome perches for the birds of the district.

I searched the shop, every shelf, up and down, all along, and back again.  Naturally what I wanted was not on offer.  The only other likely place was not likely either.  Aint life grand?   Instead, I bought chicken bits from the local butcher, and listened while the girl explained to another customer about the lack of turkeys this Christmas.  With 'Bird Flu' present, and an incompetent government dumping Brexit on the nation, the farming world has been suffering badly off late.  "Turkeys," she said, "Might be available, but if so they will cost an arm and a leg!"  This bothers me not, I eat any old thing at Christmas, but for women like the customer this is important, though not important enough to break the bank.  No reason for turkey at Christmas anyway, just be grateful to have something to eat, and heat on which to cook it!

Is this a Rook or a Crow?  Rooks are usually in a group, Crows individual, and the mob we have around here tend to hang around in two's and three's, so I never know if they are Rooks or Crows.  Maybe they do not know this either?  My beautiful, highly intelligent, and nature loving great niece claims it is a Crow, and she should know.  So I am going with that.  While the Robin was dancing about below, this man sat high up in the tree planted at a graveside many years ago.  He appears untroubled by the cold, well fed, and well able to look after himself.  

How about a blurry, cold, Blue Tit?  Lots of them around here.  Clearly such places, usually quiet, are ideal for wildlife.  Small though it is there are many birds, and a squirrel took off as I approached and sped up a tree into the wilderness there.  I suspect the only thing they fear, apart from one another, are the kids coming out of the church hall.  A kinder garden takes place there, and the approach of toddlers and mums would scare anyone.


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