A pocketful of posies
We all fall down.
We were in Tesco and in my basket were paracetamol, vapour rub, tissues and cough syrup. It was a quick shop as around us people were coughing and sneezing. Help…get me out of here. At home, I slept on Babe’s reclining chair with a hot water bottle for company. As usual, I’d the patio door opened to let some fresh air in and also see if my feathered friends were brave enough to visit. The usual culprits turned up but it was the bushy tails that provided great entertainment.
There were 3 Grey squirrels bounding up and down the garden. They were either scrambling up the bird feeder, the rose arch and even the rotary clothes liner where Babe had hung a peanut feeder. I loved it when they draped themselves around the feeder, some very acrobatic moves. Often, they would be chasing each other off. As they hopped about on the lawn, I noticed that their graceful, flowing movements were interrupted by brief periods of stillness as they stood up, looking around with their ear-tufts up, listening and sniffing the air for any signs of danger. When they found something interesting, they would sit up on their haunches and holding them in their forepaws, giving it a little nibble and then bounding off to find the perfect spot to bury their treasure. One even bury it in my plant pot. My poor plants… I was still not 100% fit but I was back at work on Thursday. I had to be present for the RDA webinar on name authority. My colleagues took the p—s and made me sit on my own at the end of the table. They didn’t want to catch my goodwill :-). It was a very eye-opening webinar because there were a lot of changes that we’d to be aware of, especially for conferences, active dates and uses of occupational qualifiers to distinguish conflicts. There was still so much to learn and discuss. 18th October was also marked as St. Luke’s Day. Although he was venerated as the Patron Saint of artists, physicians, surgeons, butchers and students, his name was traditionally been linked to St Luke’s little summer. It was the height of Autumn’s glory and the weather slowly going downhill after that. The temperature was unusually mild and the leaf colours were a patchwork of gold, russet, yellow, red, orange and scarlet. This was the view outside my window. It made me forget my sniffles for a while.
Here’s a little prayer for all the singletons out there on St. Luke’s Day
Originally famed for its healing waters, today Leamington was better known for its spectacular regency architecture, excellent shopping, vibrant nightlife and beautifully maintained parks and gardens. We gave the familiar high streets chain a miss all housed in beautiful Georgian architecture and checked out the smaller and independent retailers on the side streets. I bought a beautiful Red Crystal Buckley brooch as support to the British Legion’s vital work for all members of the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families. I shall wear it with pride and will still put a donation in the Poppy Appeal box. I am against war in any shape or form but …
On Sunday, this was the view outside our house. It was another day of thick fog, mist and cloud shrouding the country. We planned to drive down to Slimbridge WWT because the first sighting of the Bittern was reported. But we waited until it cleared a bit. There was a nip in the air with a hint of mist and mellow fruitfulness lingering. As we drove along the M6, an amazing mist over the roads moved very slowly, giving the countryside an almost ethereal feel, in the weak autumn sunlight. There were road-works here and there and despite the heavy fog, there were some very irresponsible drivers. What a prat.
We walked briskly towards the Zeiss Hide giving a quick glance around the several zones in case if we spot any migratory birds and waders. Thankfully, the hide was unusually quiet. We took our seats and it was freezing. The mudflats were busy full of teals, lapwings and Black-tail Godwits but no sighting of the elusive bird.
As we walked around the park, we spotted some very unusual sightings. The Trust had laid a special Halloween trail for children. We had a lovely time checking out some of the exhibits. I bet the children enjoyed hunting for the clues which we did. This was supposed to be a Crane’s brain.
Then a pit stop at the South Lake to see if we can spot the Long-billed Dowitcher. We weren’t surprised that the hide was packed with people trying to catch a glimpse of this North American wader. Finally, with the guidance of a very obliging twitcher I finally met the elusive bird. A pity he was asleep and hidden among the 140 Black-tailed Godwits. He was a bit smaller and more colourful.
South Lake was very busy and full of activity. We were amazed to see a few of the Black-tailed Godwits feeding so close to where we were sitting in the hide. They were already in their uniform grey winter plumage. These long-legged, long-billed wader were busy probing for earthworms in the shallow pools. What a wonderful sight.
As I scanned the pool, I spotted a Little Egret looking out of place among the waders. It stood out with its white with black bill, black legs and yellow feet. It was also busy feeding, stabbing its bill to left and right. A joy to watch.
By this time, it was getting quite chilly and we decided to head home. But we just had to check out one of the closest hide, Rushy Hide and we were glad we did. The Pintails had returned from the Tundras. Woo-hoo. The low sunlight highlighted the black long and pointed rear end of the males. Check out the elaborate vermiculated pattern on the back and flanks. A very beautiful bird.