Tuesday, December 17, 2019

A sudden brightening of winter

I’m a natural optimist – you have to be to go to sea, of course – but this morning as I stepped into the garden I admitted that I was confronted with a boring, utterly dismal scene on a dark, rain-splattered, sopping utterly miserable day.
I thought, ‘Just the day to give suicide a positive feel.’
Then my heart gave a leap of pleasure as I was surrounded suddenly by flocks, actual crowds and crowds of minute birds.
And not just the garden birds I feed daily, but an astonishing collection of foreigners who obviously don’t care about the new government’s feelings over non-Brits.
The hedge that moments before had been prompting me for a belated trim now became the feeding ground for a bright variety of winter arrivals, tucking into aphid-like bugs, and enjoying the fruit from a branch that I purposely let grow as if it might be a tree.
So straight to Uncle Google to learn more about the very welcome visitors.

The hungry arrivals

I was directed to authority Doug Shapley, a conservation adviser for the Woodland Trust.
His article identifies very clearly the hungry arrivals, robins, chaffinches, bramblings and finches, plus a few more which were rather too quick on the wing for identification.
It seemed a miracle that they would turn up on such a miserable winter’s morning, particularly after the astonishing distance that these tiny critters travelled.
No Ryanair, EasyJet, or Flybe for them with movies and music and attractive hostesses bringing refreshments. If they want to travel – or are driven to – and from faraway places like Scandinavia, Russia and continental Europe, they must do it themselves, and astonishingly by instinct.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


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