Monday, May 01, 2006


The oddest things stick in my mind. One day on Radio 4 I heard a man talk of being an “Accidental Twitcher” and it just hit me as right. The thought of sitting out in a bird blind for hours on end on the off chance of maybe possibly catching a glimpse of some rare bird just leaves me cold. However… catch sight of a hawk while out walking, or look for bats (I know, they’re not really birds, so sue me) swooping about from the terrace, or watch the queue of tits line up at the bird feeder and I’m a happy man.

To sit and much my toast (occasionally even with Marmite (LL made it a condition of getting married (it took a while…))) and watch the birds at our feeder is almost a zen meditation. Don’t ask me to explain it, I can’t, but watching the wee birds go after their bit of peanut just makes me happy. We get a lot of them too, you can see 8 or 9 varieties in a single breakfast sitting.

Which brings me to my personal nemesis, his name be Squirrel. You see, the little birds aren’t the only ones who like peanut. So does he, and he’s a crafty bugger. Completely fearless too. Chase him away, and he’s back as soon as your back is turned. I’ve tried spraying him with water and I swear he stuck his tongue out. Throw a stone and he dodges and give you back the finger.

He’s got teeth of steel too. In the ten years we’ve been living where we live, we have been through no less than 15 bird feeders. I’ve tried everything, wood, metal, ceramics, every shape size and design. He has gnawed through them, unscrewed them, shaken them off their hooks, and every single one he has broken to gain his prize.

Until this, welded stainless steel and tough as an old boot.. One week on and he has no luck what so ever. I have watched gleefully as he has swung helplessly trying to get a paw or his mouth at our nuts. To no avail! It gives such great pleasure, and yet, and yet… What will he do next?


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