There is no better way to start the week than a ramble with the Birdy Group. Believe me.
Fourteen of us gathered this morning in the car park in Honeysuckle Lane, overlooking
a quite magnificent panorama of our Home Town, with the sea glistening way out there, a beautiful reminder of how lucky we are to live, in the words of the song, "beside the sea-side, beside the sea."
of us had been sure exactly what to wear. The weather forecast foretold fine sunshine and temperatures above normal - but with the proviso that it might be cooler near the coast. Plus we were quite high up, would this make a difference? I wore a jacket, on
the basis that, if necessary, I could bundle it up in my rucksack which contained but a few essentials i.e. my mobile phone, my hair brush, a bottle of water and my binoculars. Travel light, that's my mantra. Unless I am heading to visit family when
I will add all kinds of inconsequentials like magazines for small ones, music for older ones and baby bottles for the Mother Who Always Leaves At Least One Behind.
What a wonderful walk we had! Spring was
springing, in its habitual, annual way - and we were surrounded by bird song at its most beautiful. Brave Pam has an app on her mobile phone to help us identify this bird or that. We also have Gill who is quite an expert on bird song. Having been a member
of the Birdy Group for eighteen months, I can now recognise the song of the robin, the blackbird and the great tit. It may be just a small step for you but, believe me, it is a Giant Step for Mankind. As in, for me.
The reason why I recognise the call of the Great Tit is that Mr B called me out into the front garden a week or so ago, worried that a bird high up in a tree in our next door neighbour's garden, might be in distress. With the aid of my trusty binoculars,
I located the songbird and identified it - and its rusty knife song - as a Great Tit. Mr B, reassured by my confidence in my own powers of identification, joked that he would now "leave tit alone." I laughed. Dutifully.
Such a beautiful spring morning! The skylarks are dancing overhead, Mr and Mrs Yellowhammer are cavorting in the field below. A buzzard wheels across the sky in the distance. A small brown bird hops from branch to branch of a nearby tree. Scottish Christine
says it looks "a bit robin-ish." What a perfect description, albeit one which might fall short of a true ornithologist's standards.
We also see chaffinches, a wren, various varieties of tit, finches, many
a pigeon and the Ubiquitous Sea-Gull. It helps that most of the trees are still bare of leaves so we can make out more clearly the birds high up on their branches, posing for us and throwing their voices out onto the breeze as if auditioning for Britain's
We can see, far in the distance, a sea fret swirling inshore. It grows colder and I am pleased I wore my jacket. We talk about the weather, an endless topic of conversation. Is it true, do
you think, that it is only the English who talk about the weather? What does everyone else use as a conversation opener?
We find ourselves back in the car park where we started out. We all reckon we have had
an excellent time with our Feathered Friends at their most obliging. We are all reminded by the Lovely Linda, our group convenor, that our next Birdy Group gathering is in just two weeks time. It's one of my favourite of all our walks, a Celebration of Springtime
if ever there was one. I will certainly be there.
Tall Margaret asks me about The Twinkles. All my friends know about them and they always ask me for an update which I am happy to supply, I then feel honour-
bound to fill them in on the other eight grand-children, all equally special, all equally precious.
Like the great tit, the robin, the chaffinch and the skylark - this is My Song.