September 13, 2011

Tales from a suburban garden

God I'm bored. Nearly five weeks without fishing, crippled (again) with a duff back and as frustrated as a caged tiger. Have you ever seen that Laurel and Hardy film when Ollie has gout - that's what I've been like, I'm not a very good patient.

I've spent a lot of time looking out of the window -Rear Window, Hitchcock, a classic - haven't witnessed any murders but came close. A young squirrel came into the garden but set off at pace as the neighbour's cat sprang from the undergrowth. In police parlance, 'a high-speed pursuit ensued' which ended as the squirrel took refuse at the top of a lamp post where it sat chattering as the cat circled.

Nicky decided to intervene and shoo'd the cat off, at which point the squirrel took a flying leap from the top of the lamp post and with legs spread, 'flew' but landed with a heavy thump on the pavement. It must have hurt but squizzers are as tough as old boots and it ran down the road like it's tail was on fire.

It had been fairly quiet on the bird front, just the usual sparrows, starlings, finches and four types of tits. Late August and early September are doldrums in the bird watchers calendars unless you get a big wind and that is just what has happened. So, when Laura, (my cake making neighbour) knocked the door this morning, it was to see if I could identify the bird she'd found in her garden. It was a Manx Shearwater, a bird that spends most of its life out at sea and has absolutely no right to appear in Weobley some 85 miles from the coast.

I did some ringing around and it seems that this is just one of hundreds of birds that have been found or sighted well inland. Apparently, the wildlife centre at West Hatch in Somerset is currently home to over 70 other Shearwaters. Ours is on it's way to the vet and will probably end up with the others.

The accounts of rare birds has sent some twitchers in a spin and, one for Two Canes to keep an eye out for, there's even been an albatross off Lincolnshire.

Anyway, enough of the wildlife. I'm feeling more mobile so the walking stick can be replaced with a landing net handle and I'm off to the river for an hour or two this afternoon, I'll let you know how I get on.


  1. Kind of a sad treat to see wildlife of any kind far from their home, eh. Beauty of a bird though. All the best to you on the river this afternoon!

  2. Glad to see you're getting out on the river mate. One week without fishing sends me a bit cranky, I'm climbingthe walls by five!!
    Are you a Laurel & Hardy fan then ? I love em....If you want to see them at their most genius, give yourself a treat and watch this..

  3. Erin. Yes, I feel for anything lost, but there are people helping these stricken birds to pick up their migration routes, some will go via helicopter and that makes me feel warm inside.

    Gurn, love 'em, I've got the box set, even my first boat was called 'Laughing Gravy'.

    As for the fishing trip - it lasted an hour, it was cold and the river out of sorts. Both Neil and I declared it an early finish and went to the pub, nice to get out for a bit though.