I don’t want to descend into hyperbole but mornings here are utter and complete chaos. I am sure we are not alone in this. And I am also sure that many, many parenting blogs have covered the shouting, bribing, cajoling, temper tantrums and last minute panics in comprehensive detail. So I don’t need to go over it here.
When the kids have finally left for school with a friend or when I return from doing that same school run (we alternate weekly to save both our sanities) peace has descended.
I use the first half hour or so to drag the house back into some semblance of order. Washing up from breakfast, hanging up wet laundry, putting dry clothes away.
And then as many times a week as is possible I make my second brew of the day (there is no way I would survive the preceding carnage without my first caffeinated cuppa, in a big ‘morning’ mug) and sit at my computer to clear some admin. Of which there is a seemingly unending and ever increasing amount of.
This often takes me longer than it should. And the reason is the view.
We live on a large housing estate built in stages from the 1930s to the 1970s. As such I have no way of seeing rolling hills, snow capped mountains or fields of wheat. I do however have a view of my bird feeders.
My morning admin routine seems to coincide nicely with my birds’ first pass of the day.
I once went to Kenya and spent an amazing holiday on safari. It is truly one of the best vacations I have ever been on. One night was spent at Treetops (where the Queen found out she was monarch all those years ago) and my husband and I sat in a viewing gallery at floor height watching the comings and goings at the large watering hole, which is why the venue is there. The animals came in shifts. Starting with the smaller herbivores all the way up to rhinos and then moving on in the twilight to the carnivores. The animals apparently do this every day. Keep an order.
My birds are the same. They are creatures of habit. About this time every day I get my tits. The children think this is highly amusing… I am beyond their sniggering now. Large numbers of great, blue and coal tits descend and eat their way through vast quantities of sunflower hearts. Today, highly excitingly, there was a Black Cap hidden amongst them…I mistook it at first for a coal tit…but it wasn’t. My identification book is always to hand.
Lunch time is another ‘pass’. I hear the tell tale squeaking of my favourite bird before I see them. And my little flock of about seven long tailed tits arrive and cover the fat ball feeder. The other visitors look lumpen in comparison to their tiny, darting frames.
Shortly after this time I often get carrion birds (jackdaws, crows, rooks and magpies) who also like the fat balls. Once they have Hoovered up the remains left on the floor by the LTT frenzy they have to do a leaping sort of dance to reach the feeder as they are too large to hang.
The wood pigeons are less reliable. The kids have named them Barbara and Bob- Barbara sits forlornly atop the highest feeder looking puzzled, whilst Bob has developed a method of hanging by his feet off the handle at the top of the feeder and flapping his wings to keep his beak in the vicinity of the opening below- I am not convinced the calories he gleans are sufficient to cover those expended on such an acrobatic display.
In the afternoon my resident robin is often to be seen flitting in and out from the bushes to nick seed. He mostly comes when no one else is there. I also see green and chaff- finches and sparrows. I have yet to attract back the goldfinches which were so prevalent at my old house. But I am hopeful.
And then again at tea time the flocks of tits return for their evening meal. My children are sick of my shouting ‘LTT alert’ when they are eating their sausage and mash. I have a great view of the feeder from my seat at the table. One would almost think I had planned it that way.
And that is my birding day. Regular and reassuring. Calming. And a delight.