Sydney and Cyril there's Little Wol (the Little Owl), whom you have already
met, and Woody 1(he's the Greater Spotted Woodpecker), he's got a mate, Woody
2, but even when they're together I can't tell the difference. There's a whole
raft of little birds clustered around the nut cages: blue tits, finches, great
tits, coal tits, hedge sparrows etc., etc. They all pause when I go out and
then seem to say 'Oh, it's only 'im' and go back to the nuts.
flies off, being of a nervous disposition, but only as far as the damson tree
from where he berates me for interrupting his breakfast.
Always in the
background are the hedgerow terrorists, the Magpies, clacking away like
demented old-fashioned typewriters. We don't like each other so they keep their
distance; their habit of hauling baby fledglings out of the nests of other
birds endears them to no-one. I wouldn't stop them, but I don't have to like
recently been adopted by a breeding pair of Sparrowhawks, they come swooping
down between the house and the Hazelnut tree and frighten the crap out of the
birds happily feeding there. They never seem to catch anything, but they do
focus the little bird's awareness of the skies above, which is probably no bad
thing 'cos even Little Wol has been known to snatch at the unwary
Sydney came to say his usual hello, but something dramatic must have happened
because he chatters on excitedly for ages. I don't know what happened 'cos my
Robin speak is a little rusty, but it must have been momentous because he was
breathless by the time he'd finished.
the postman, arrives in his little red van and we spend a few minutes putting
the world to rights; John is a show-pigeon enthusiast and an authority on
American Indian tribes! How many English postmen can you say that about? He's
also the authority on the village gossip; if John doesn't know about it it
little email provoked an interesting response whereby the recipients began to
look, some for the first time, at the world around them:
USA - How lovely to read this drinking my cup of tea this morning Fred.
Living here in the Sonoran desert. A far cry from my home and garden located in
Kent, England. It reminded me so much of what is actually surrounding me here
in wild life. Indeed it is different to what I was used to in
I too have a
"Wooden Bird" as I call him, who hammers away right at 6 am on my chimney. No
good trying to bury my head under a pillow. Wooden bird gets the best of
Also I have a
variety of beautiful humming birds. They feed off feeders I have hanging off of
a tree outside my lounge window. The little jewels of the South West I call
them, simply because they sparkle in the sunshine. Indeed I love the wild life
here in this desert. But there is one little bird I miss being here and that is
my "Henry" the Robin Red breast who would wait for me to un earth the worms
when out gardening with my late Father.
Also I have a
"Big horned owl" who frequents the rooftop most nights. Hooting and I am sure
he wears lead boots as he is a noisy chap, when hopping around.Plus the
Javelina wild pigs that often run through my garden in the early hours of the
morning. One would think they are a herd of elephants not wild boars. To me
Fred to be aware of the positive versus negative with all the wild life I have
encountered here in SW and W coast of the USA has been spectacular. I so thank
you for your stories and look most forward to reading more of them.
Brac - The sun is rising a little later at this time of year, around about
6.30am. The dawn chorus is in full swing, bananaquits and warblers. Old Truss
(Red Legged Thrush) is busy squawking around his territory,and a Southern
Mockingbird serenades from the top of the nearby casurine tree that planted for
my Uncle Reg in 1987, and is now 40 feet high!
The wind in the
seagrape and palm trees and the sea (300 feet away) rustle and swish together,
and a gentle breeze wafts through the house. If I didn't have to work, I'd just
lie abed for a few more hours. But cats have to be fed, kids taught, bills
paid, and so I must become more active.
As I drive to
school I head down the sandy road to the main drag, passing Miss Lina, clearing
up her yard. At 76 Miss Lina is one of those island characters I love so much.
She also looks after our house when we're not here. We exchange a few words
about this and that and I head towards school. As cars pass me going the other
way, everyone waves their hand in greeting - it's always been a custom here. I
hope it always will be.
Roberts, USA - I open the front door to either blowing cold rain or the
occasional sparkly, dewy fall day, and I am serenaded by a cacophony of bird
song - chickadees, all sorts of LBJ's (little brown jobs), finches, etc., all
demanding breakfast - and I go out in my nightgown to fill the bird feeders in
the apple tree. Usually I catch a glimpse of a black or grey squirrel streaking
up the tree trunk after raiding one of the feeders. This year is the best
season the tree has seen in some years. Like Fred's apple tree, some of its
branches are near to breaking from the load of what I think are pippins (the
tree is at least 60 years old). Like Maggie, every time someone walks by and
comments on the apples I dash out with a plasti c grocery bag and urge them to
crow's raucous calls punctuate the morning. They're not interested in birdseed.
If I don't watch my step, I'll plant a moccasined foot directly in a pile of
doggie doo-doo, deposited every morning without fail by the Rottweiler who
lives two houses down the road.
The leaves are
almost all down now, though a few trees are still wearing their golden autumn
splendor. Thanks Fred, for inspiring me to stop and look around instead of
rushing around in ever decreasing circles.
Africa - I check my email pretty frequently, but I'm always excited to
receive people's 'Morning' impressions. Their 'awakenings' are extending
further into their day and I'm learning a little more of people's lives -
people I don't know yet, but would surely like to
I'm going to
try to stick to my morning. Don't know whether I'll be able to do that easily
because Africa has so much more than just the morning and it's hard to decide
whether that's the bit that really hits me first. When I think it's morning it
could still be night. I wake early. Usually around 4.30am. We have a small lake
at the bottom of our garden and during the day we are overwhelmed by the sounds
of a myriad of different birds, all of them desperate for water around this
time of the year. But in the morning, then it's the frogs. Millions of frogs,
mostly croaking the same tune, but not one of them croaking it at the same
time! It's noisy, but it's a sound.
Northern Virginia, USA - It's cold in the morning but the sun is bright and
the day ahead will be warm if we are lucky. Walking out onto the deck the
leaves are already providing a colourful carpet to both the deck and the woods
beyond. The sunlight is incredible as it filters through the canopy of very
high trees. The light magnifies the number of different colours. Trees that
were green in the humid summer are now red, yellow and all the shades of rusty
red in between.
It must be cold
because the usual sound of the cicadas and crickets are no longer there. They
will come back later in the day. Many of the birds have gone. We haven't seen
the bright red cardinal birds for a week or two, but we see the dozens of
squirrels scurrying about, building their stores for the winter, which if like
last year could be hard. We also have a family of chipmunks that have made a
home in the lawn out front, but keep running round to the back to see if the
cover of the pool is still there - in the summer they used to drink at the
It is beautiful
in the Fall in Virginia - we even have carved pumpkins outside the front door,
and it is just about the best time of the year.
Birmingham, UK - When I open my front door each morning I see the village
pub. It calls to me in harpy like tones, drowning out the birdsong, triggering
a flashback of last week's karaoke night. I rub my eyes but it is still there,
a white palace framed by the dawn of a fresh new morn. Through the windows I
can see the pump handles, their brass minarets glinting in the sunlight. Magic
lanterns display logos of my favourite ales on the top of the bar.
I climb into my
car and turn the engine before pulling off the drive. I have a choice, I can
either press my nose up against the windows of The Winged Spur until opening
time or join the Redditch to Birmingham Grand Prix halfway up the A435. Certain
that my car used to belong to Homer Simpson, it drives itself into the pub car
park, a journey of almost eleven yards on a clear day. I sit in the pub car
park spewing diesel fumes into the crisp autumnal air until I have plucked up
enough courage to brave the rat race again.
moment on I stare at the back of a GTI from home to eternity. BMWs speed past,
lorries pull out regardless, cyclists choke, buses stop abruptly - why are bus
stops not located in bus lanes? - red lights interrupt. And all the time I
can't wait until the return trip and the sinewy wrist of Rosie, the fashionably
underweight but over aged barmaid, flexing as the pump is drawn back and
fountains of crystal clear beer splash into a tall glass and the foamy head
settling without so much as a snap, crackle or pop.
Then I arrive
at the office and Pete on security is beaming his Arsenal lost smile and all is
well with the world.
York, USA - My first image as I walk ot of the door is a quiet hall with
two elevators. We are eight stories up in a modern 30 story apartment house. As
the elevator door opens I wonder who will be inside. Someone I know, a car full
of children, or no one. Often a pleasant encounter - often the weather is a
serious subject of discussion since we are usually heading outdoors.
building is the residence of university academics and staff, the elevator is
the place to hear many languages and half heard exchanges about work in
progress and department activities.
The lobby is
the final stop where we are greeted by a friendly doorman - outside on a grassy
square stand a huge Picasso sculpture of a woman's head. Her eys are strangely
positioned and her hair is in a ponytail. I am so accustomed to the statue I
barely see it.
As I walk down
the walk on either side - in the fall the squirrels are busy burying acorns in
anticipation of the winter. Most of the squirrels are brown except a few black
In the mild
weather, I am passed by young students in shorts and tee shirts, with racquets
and sports gear jogging to the gym. Also older folks, grad students, gray
haired academics and local residents also in exercise attire come and
The local bench
is a favourite for the occasional derelict to sleep or sit and eat from a
That is my
Dorridge, UK - Kick my way to the front door through autumnal envelopes
from the credit card tree. The door sweeps an arc like a windscreen wiper
through bills and special offers that no-one wants.
I am late, the
engine roars, the blipping throttle, back of the grid, the school 'Cannonball'
run has begun.
Every car in
front is 'wacky warehouse' on wheels. A writhing mass of arms and legs,
screaming mums, blazers, rucksacks, comics, flapping ties, gymslips and
crumpled socks round ankles with no bodies.
Cars weave to
stay in the middle of the road. Half dressed drivers struggle to finger-comb
hair, apply lipstick and mascara in side-turned rear-view mirrors.
here. School! Cars parked like confetti, all doors ajar like stubby
3'9" tall round
lollipop lady with 9' foot lollipop patiently stops anyone crossing the road
until a car approaches.
any child in reach through school gate, each complaining to no-one in
particular that their man is worse than anybody elses and men always try to
overtake because I am a woman.
I squeeze past
the school. Tomorrow they will call for more traffic calming road humps, speed
kills signs, road narrowing, white paint and radar. "Do you know this is a 5mph
women only road, Sir?" "Really Constable."
mum in nightie bends over. Silky bum stretched tight. All is forgiven. I am
past, Right foot to the floor. Maniacal glee. I am free, free!
corner, diesel belching, 40tonnes, eight wheels, driver scratching his
I woke early one morning,
The earth lay cool and still
suddenly a tiny bird
Perched on my window sill.
He sang a song so lovely
So carefree and so gay,
all my troubles
Began to slip away.
He sang of far off places
Of laughter and of fun,
It seemed his
Brought up the morning sun.
I stirred beneath the covers
Crept slowly out of bed,
gently lowered the window
And crushed his flaming head!
(I'm not a