Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Enchanting Encounters

As a contrast to the previous post which was a bit, Tales From The Septic Tank, I will share some heart-meltingly enchanting moments I have experienced whilst waiting at the fresh water tap. All three of these stories occurred at the same spot, and all involve sweet little birds. (I don't have a photo to illustrate so I'm sharing a random wintry one)

The tap is situated right up against a Hawthorn bush which is of course quite bare and skeletal at the moment, so you can see right into it. One morning I noticed some activity moving through the bush towards me, so I slowly turned off the tap and stood very still. A flock of about ten Long Tailed Tits progressed systematically until they were right in front of my face, hopping from branch to branch and picking at tiny morsels. I could look straight into their sweet faces with those little black dot eyes. They were just so tiny and round and soft looking. One was just a little more than arms length away. And then they were off, to work their way through the next hedge.

I had a similar but less frenetic encounter with  a Goldcrest. Again, a tiny and sweet little creature, about the size of a wren but with a bright yellow flash on top of his head. Even closer to me than the Tits this little fella bobbed about for ages, oblivious that I was right there.

And my third encounter of the avian kind involved me rescuing a Great Tit that had got itself trapped inside the hollow metal gatepost next to the water tap.

I could hear a fluttering sound and pinpointed it to this post. It is right in amongst the Hawthorn, with an oval hole for the now disused gate to engage with. It must have been an inviting, ready made house for building a nest last Spring. But it must also have been too deep and narrow for the bird to move in freely. I found a long and reasonably pliable stick (this campsite is a great source of twigs and sticks, thank goodness!), very slowly and gradually fed it down the inside of the post, hoping not to distress the bird any more than it was already. Once I could feel that the bird was either fluttering against it, or climbing onto it, I stood back a little and waited. And within moments there was a little black and white face looking out at me. Of course it wouldn't come out whilst I was there, so I left for a minute or two. When I came back I got chirped at by an irate but freed Great Tit. "You're welcome" says I.

So, these are the little precious moments that can make your chest fizz like a bath bomb while you're just going about your normal daily chores. But you have to be out there in the first place, and you have to keep your eyes and ears open and be prepared to slow down or you'll miss it all.

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