Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Nine to Five.

Papa Blackbird, originally uploaded by LuLu Witch.

If I opened up the BBC News website one day, and discovered a link to a story which said that scientists had conclusively proved that birds operate a shift system I wouldn’t be in the slightest bit surprised. It was something that I first started noticing when I was pushing my eldest son around Heaton Park on a daily basis, back in the Summer of 2001 when he was brand new and all that.

On different days and at different times there would be a noticeable surfeit of one species of bird in particular. One day it might be blue tits, other days, robins, twittering across the paths, breaking the daytime silence. Half an hour later, another species would be in the ascendancy. I’m sure that there’s a logical and no doubt scientific explanation for it, but it always felt like they were taking turns, clocking on and off duty, as the day went by.

I was put in mind of this early today when walking to work between Salford University and Manchester House I was confronted by a small army of blackbirds. Male, female, on paths, in bushes, up trees, static and scattering to the four winds as I passed by. Normally, I may see one or two, but today was definitely their day at the coalface.

I also had happy encounters with a pair of Little Grebes - a male by the abandoned footbridge, and a tiny female bobbing up and down into the water by The Old Pint Pot, and a Kingfisher skirting the Manchester bank of the river as I peered over the metal and wood-barrier round the back of Café Rouge in Spinningfields.

Thanks to LuLu Witch on Flickr for this great photograph of 'Papa Blackbird' in Sheffield.

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