The weather. Favourite topic of the British. It dominates our lives. When Vivaldi wrote The Four Seasons I suspect he had in mind a summer’s day in Hampshire. Old Hampshire that is. Ancient Hampshire perhaps. Yesterday I was ready for the rotovating to commence. The umpires consulted their lightmeters, whipped out a rain gauge and trudged disconsolately back to the pavilion. Rain stopped play.
Half an hour later the sun was shining and the wind had dropped. I hoped play would recommence. Ten minutes later still and the wind was skewering my ageing bones. Someone put a tea cosy over the garden and the light disappeared. Bible black it was. It felt like a dry Sunday in Llaerggub. Duw it was hard.
I sought out the comfort of my rocker and read a few chapters of Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature (Nick Davies). Notwithstanding the forecast (more rain) I put out my actinic moth trap overnight. I pushed it under the old brick barbecue with little hope that it would attract anything. To my surprise it turned up a Lunar Underwing, new for the garden. A ray of consolation.
Had I not been wasting my time trying to make a decent shot of a distant speck I might have managed a decent shot of the Grey Wagtail that flew in. Instead I produced 2 or 3 blurred images none of which is worth bothering with except for the fact that this bird was ringed (banded). I only realised when I saw the frames on the big screen. Sadly the ring alphanumeric is unreadable. This was a juvenile bird, flushed apricot on the breast. I do wonder whether it had been ringed locally.
Most of the time it was Blackbirds. At least a dozen. There were 2 Song Thrushes but they kept a safe distance. The Blackbirds ushered them away if they hopped too close. Contrast the attitude:
Versus the disdainful, almost indignant standing strut of the Blackbird.Its hard to look tough though when you may well have been dragged through a hedge backwards. And you’ve chosen to perch on the ugliest cable in the garden.
I was a few seconds too slow to get on to a Great Spotted Woodpecker and I managed just a record shot of a Blackcap as it moved through the garden. On the whole I found it quite satisfying watching the Blackbirds. Some are identifiable as individuals, distinctive plumage and regular forays to the pond. I can understand well how it possible to become engrossed with a single species. I would choose the Song Thrush over the Blackbird but T. Merula probably provides greater options in the garden.
I should have added that yesterday we bought more pots, a few bags of peat-free compost and a mixture of tulips and daffs to plant out. Vivaldi Weather put a stop on that. I once sang in a performance of Viv’s Gloria in D. However I promise not to do it again. As long as he gives us seasons in the sun instead of four for the price of one. That would be music to my ears.