Stick and Ball

Yesterday it snowed most of the day and today the snow was thawing noticeably. What fun trying to guess what might happen next. Walking into town to get a few provisions for us and another 3kgs of sunflower kernels for the Hungry Horaces was a decidedly slippery and drippery affair as I past under overhanging trees. ‘T was a generally uninspiring day overall. There was one highlight, however, apart from the fact that Carol managed to get her iTunes library migrated between old and new machines.

Several years ago I read an entertaining book by Simon Barnes called How to be a Bad Birdwatcher. For anyone even vaguely interested in wildlife, I thoroughly recommend it. I well remember one section talking about jizz (though I can’t be certain I’ve remembered how to spell it). Jizz refers to the ability to recognize birds at a distance or with just a brief glimpse, essentially from very few visual clues, by having a sort of inherent “understanding” of the bird. One example Simon quoted was recognizing crows (just another plain black bird) at a distance because of the constant rowing motion of their wings in flight. Another example he quoted was of Long-tailed Tits resembling a stick and ball.

Long-tailed_Tit_01 I’d been waiting for our “stick and ball”s to put in an appearance this winter and this week they did. They really are utterly delightful little birds. Long-tailed Tits normally flock in reasonable numbers and tend to chatter to each other; we usually hear them before we see them. Yesterday, though we saw them, the whole flocking lot seemed intent on staying on the feeders at the bottom of our garden, well away from any cameras. Today, however, one more cooperative little flocker broke away from its pals and ventured up onto the peanuts closer to our kitchen window where I managed to grab a snap with Carol’s camera.

I’m still dying for a bigger lens. 😉

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