Skip to main content

The sparrows outside the window

I am, I confess, a birdwatcher.

Not in the traditional sense. I rarely go out with the express intention of spotting birds, rather it's something I do when already out. I'll own up to keeping a list, but that's mostly for the benefit of my son, who didn't display much interest in the natural world until he realised there were lists where you could tick things off, that it could be quantifiable: like collecting football stickers. I hope that having been sucked in by ticking boxes he'll end up just appreciating them for what they are.

This is the simple pleasure I've arrived at. And, to be honest, I don't have room in my head for every variety of bird (I used to, it's how I bonded with one of my oldest friends), these days I'd struggle to tell my sedge warbler from my reed warbler, and whilst I do follow rare bird twitter accounts, and was excited by the arrival of black terns at mere sands wood last summer, that's not really what gets me going.

I like the prosaic birds. I've blogged before about the pied wagtails that hunt on the flat roof at work, and about the point where feral pigeons end and wood pigeons start. And now I'll sing the praises of the family of house sparrows nesting in the ivy outside our bedroom window.

It's a sure sign of spring when one morning I'll suddenly hear the chatter. and it is chatter, rather than song, which I think in part is why we warm to theese gregarious, garrulous birds. There's a real sense of life and activity which, in a house with three small children in, is entirely relatable.

Their proximity is of course another reason why these birds are dear to a lot of people's hearts, they're called house sparrows for a reason, after all, and for many they'll be the bird they see most often. But that, to me, is part of the point as to why they should be appreciated.

I suppose the point of this post is to say find a way to take pleasure in your immediate surroundings. Yes it's a thrill to watch an osprey pluck a fish from the water, and a source of pride to say you've seen x amount of passage migrants. But for me, lying in bed and listening to the sparrows argue is a bird-watching pleasure that's hard to beat.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

This is not campaigning

A few days ago, I was speaking to a local Labour Party worker. He was shrugging at the Tory effort around our neck of the woods, wasn't too worried about retaining the seat at the election; the theory being that they weren't trying hard, because nobody major had turned up.

Then two days ago the Prime Minister turned up.

My first thoughts, when I found out, were of that functionary, his confidence in retaining the seat must have taken a dent from the news that the biggest gun of them all had come calling. The funny thing was, though, nobody knew. I found out on the Today programme the next morning.

The constituency in which I live, West Lancashire, is a place of contrasts. I live in Ormskirk, a reasonably (though increasingly less) prosperous mix of market and student town. We're surrounded by blandly pretty countryside, some reasonably picturesque agricultural land and some chocolate box villages. Down the road, however, is Skelmersdale, the main reason that West Lancash…

The colour of passports

Is this what it was all about?

Andrew Rossindell M.P: "it's a matter of identity, having the pink European passports has been a matter of national humiliation"

Now, leaving aside that my passport is a fetching shade of maroon, rather than pink (and that Rossindell's recoiling from that colour, imagined as it is, speaks to lengthy and expensive analysis required), and leaving aside the observation that I really don't understand why it matters what colour a passport holder is, given that it's the information inside which is important, and leaving even further aside the fact that we were already free to choose the colour of our passports (EU member Croatia's is a perfectly pleasant blue) I am forced to ask:

National humiliation?

Going cap in hand in the seventies to the IMF was a national humiliation. Our spiralling rates of child child poverty are a national humiliation. The fact that cancer survival rates in the UK are lower than most other comparable coun…

Obligatory referendum post

It was pointed out me that I've been fairly quiet on the subject of the referendum so far. This is largely because I didn't want to state the bleeding obvious. Remain, obviously. Every argument I've heard from leave has been vague hand-flapping of the "it'll be fine" variety. I've heard no numbers. It's an emotional argument peddled by misty-eyed fantasists of an Elgar-soundtracked Merrie England which NEVER EXISTED at the more palatable end, and by swivel eyed bigots and xenophobes at the less refined end. All their argument about "red tape" conveniently ignore the protection of workers which eu directives enforce (and which the Tories would dearly love to get rid of, reckon maternity allowance would be what it is out of the eu? Then you're an imbecile. Get to the back of the class and play with some paper or something). I'd have some sympathy for the immigration argument, were it not for the fact that every eastern European I'v…