Friday, 11 November 2011
This is an modified excerpt and some pictures from an article I had published in Birdwatch Magazine in October this year.
"I live in a west-coast Scottish village, surrounded by ancient hill-top forts. When the Vikings harried these shores, locals must have lived in fear of raiders from the North. Last autumn we were visited again, and word spread quickly from house to house. My neighbour rang at first light and insisted that I come to her house. In the upstairs bedroom her guests, bleary-eyed, had been evicted from their beds. The room was lit by an orange glow as the flame-coloured autumnal leaves of the rowan tree outside almost touched the window. And in the tree, a flock of Waxwings - masked raiders, alert and wary, ready to pillage and plunder. The local Blackbird had realised too late the severity of the situation. In vain he tried to keep the intruders from his winter food-supply, but he was outnumbered. On the road below, mothers and children passed by on their way to school, unaware of the drama taking place above their heads. The Waxwings flew up, but returned again, fluttering, stretching, plucking, grabbing - tossing berries into the air before gulping them down. Soon, not a single berry remained. With a whirr of wings the flock was gone, leaving us all happy at the interruption of our domestic routines. All of us except, maybe, the Blackbird."