Today there has been a bitterly cold wind although there has been a fair amount of bright sunshine making the cold a surprise as I went outside this morning. My fingers were tingling by the time I came in for a hot bowl of stoneground porridge. Irish Stew they called it on the east coast of America when I visited in 1986. Sunday — a day of rest — a day to take things easy after a delicious soak in the bath with the sun pouring in. When I came downstairs I fanned the remnants of the woodburning fire which is always reluctant and sluggish when there is no wind. So much for wind turbines – it is surprising the number of days when there is no wind even though we tend to think of this rural, high spot as extremely windy.
The black birds are squawking as they find somewhere warm to roost out of the wind. They are one of the last birds to go to roost before dark and the reign of the owls begins. The other day a male was pulling moss from the top of the wall so there must be an empty expectant nest hiding away somewhere. Two other males were lined up on top of the wall as the posturing heralding the start of the mating season begins.
However, it’s back to winter today with them stoking up on food as the main priority. They enjoy soft foods such as oats, fruit, sultanas, just as the chaffinches, dunnock and ring-collared doves do from a bird table or the ground. There are clouds of other birds rising when disturbed, busily taking advantage of the hanging bird-feeders, the blue tits, great tits, greenfinches, goldfinches, coaltits, a tree creeper and greater spotted woodpeckers. These all enjoy peanuts or the high energy suet balls with the bits falling on the ground to be pecked up quickly by the waiting chaffinches and dunnock who in their brown colours are easily overlooked. A robin also manages to manoeuvre onto the feeders although they havn’t bothered so much since they’ve been offered mealworms from a hanging feeder or on the ground.
As I draw the curtains and pull down the blinds, the fire begins to draw so that at last I have a good blaze. Outside in the dusk the birds are silently roosting, but it isn’t long before I hear the male tawny owl calling. He’s very hungry as well. My supper is ready and I can enjoy the glow of the fire and the peace and quiet until I hear the the blackbird in the morning.