• Barbara Copperthwaite

A berry good day

Great Tit, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

The elderberries hang invitingly from the trees, plump, glossy, and deep reddish purple, and wildlife is unable to resist its lure. While I watch, Blackcaps eat, while Blue Tits take refuge deeper in the bush by Henbury Pond in Highbury Park. Somewhere nearby but in the background, I can her the Parakeets but can’t see them.

A Great Tit that had clearly just gone through its moult was sitting on an elder branch, too, preening busily. It looked all puffed up and fluffy, as if it were in a cartoon and had sat under a hairdryer for too long.

On the pond itself, ignored by all, sat a Common Darter dragonfly. People wandered by without giving it a glance, as it perched on its favourite branch that sticks up just above the water. It seemed to be enjoying the sun, and warming itself as if solar-powered, ready to begin its hunting. The mornings are now quite chilly, but today I could feel the warmth building rapidly, and everything seemed to be enjoying this heat.

It was time to move on, but it wasn’t long before I paused once more. This time I was watching a Crow. I was captured by its dazzling gloss, the light reflecting white on its black feathers. Even its beak glinted beautifully in the sunshine as it turned its head.

As I walked across the grassy expanse of the centre of Highbury, I heard the call of the parakeet and saw one flying all the way across from one side to the other, calling the whole time it was flying at treetop height. They always look so magnificent in the sunlight, almost the same colour but slightly paler and brighter than the grass and the verdant leaves that make its backdrop. Moments later, going across on the opposite side, flying from one tree to another, went a Jay. The Jays are very active at the moment.

I’m also seeing a fair few Large White butterflies today, along with Speckled Woods, and even a Blue (probably a Holly, as I’ve seen no Common in the park at all this year, but hard to tell as I didn’t see it land).

As I looked on, a Jackdaw went overhead too, giving its almost needy, plaintive repetitive call. In fact, the amount of birdsong was marked in comparison to even last week, now that the moult is over. Standing still for a moment, I listened… Robin, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue tit. Wood Pigeon cooing gently. Then, slicing through it all came the wonderful shimmering call of a Mistle Thrush. How I love that sound! That, it seemed to me, was the perfect note to end my walk on.

Speckled Wood butterfly, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

#mistlethrush #woodpigeon #robin #blackbird #greattit #bluetit #jackdaw #largewhitebutterfly #speckledwood #HighburyPark #Crow #commondarter #blackcap

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