5:30am. The sun is streaming through my wholly unsuitable blinds which don’t live up to their name. Thats not a problem. I really like the light and warm mornings, which should be filled with the melodious chorus of our feathered songsters. Except that definitely isn’t happening at my house. I had left the fat balls out. Whats wrong with that I hear you cry?
Theres a lot wrong with it. You see if these green packets of food are left out, it equals trouble. Its the noise that comes first. Short, loud barks followed by intense scrabbling and the sound of large feathered wings. This is the Jackdaw. Or rather 4 and 20 of these black birds (and I could very easily bake these in a pie at this time in the morning).
To make matters worse a Magpie joins in. Its grating call making the situation all the worse. Wearily I get out of bed and do the window waggle. Allow me to explain this time honoured technique I have learned in my time at Wookey Hole. Essentiall I open and close the window a few times in the vein hope that the marauders will go away. As I waggle I can see the scene of carnage below, fat balls are strewn across the yard and black bodies are scrapping over the spoils.
The Magpie sees me first. He takes off in a blur of pied panic. Uttering is alrm call. Then the rest of then take flight. Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud. Quite how so many corvids can fit into my little yard is a mystery. Well over 20. Actually it isn’t a mystery at all. The tall trees leading to the cave are home to hundreds of these brash marauders.
I clamber back into a bed. The scrabbling starts immediately. This is the quickest they have ever returned. You see Jackdaws are clever and they have realised that the waggle doesn’t actually hurt them much...
I was wide awake by now, so tramped down stairs. In a fit of slightly evil pleasure (its just Human Nature). I quickly raised the blind right in front of the feeder. Sure enough a Jackdaw is hanging off it looking slightly ridiculous. Obviously no one told him it wsa designed for a Blue tit. Anyway he had a major scare as a hairy, bleary eyed human was suddenly right on top of him. In a heartbeat he was gone. Probably won’t be back for at least 10 minutes... I wish they would just Beat it.
Everyone else was asleep so I thought I could get a quick visit to Ubley Warren in, before the gang arose. My main targets were (in this order):
Adder (don’t care)
Grass snake (don’t care)
I arrived, but not early enough. People were walking dogs already!
I did my normal snake hunting tactic which involves blundering about amongst the heather and gauss. As usual it was wholly unsuccessful. After half an hour I had seen a heron, two coots and a goldfish.
Then on the way back to the car I got a bit more lucky.
A female Redstart put in a very brief appearance but at least I saw her. I hung around hoping the smart male might be nearby but it wasn’t to be.
A Roe deer was busy eating breakfast and took little notice of me allowing some very close views.
I always find it strange to see Reed buntings here. They obviously took a wrong turning and are still looking for Ham Wall to this day.
On the way home I spotted a grounded Skylark. The video comes complete with Michael Jackson playing in the background. Sorry if you aren’t a fan. Unfortunately the Skylark didn’t moonwalk. Now THAT would have got some hits on YouTube...
In fact it would have been a Thriller. For now we will all have to make do with Rockin Robins...