battery bats (22/April/18)

my garden’s a battery… full of bats… wheeling and dealing the final blows to moths and craneflies, midges and storm flies… ah yes, storm flies, so-called as they herald and are omens of impending storm, or rain at least… should be called muggy flies for they only ever seem to emerge when the air grows decidedly uncomfortably sticky muggy… how do bats manage not to crash into branches and walls and all the other static and solid obstacles peppering their hunting grounds, like my garden… if I was a bat I’d be a hopeless one, inevitably colliding with trees and comically sliding down the bark wearing a halo of even tinier bats spinning around my dazed batty head… not to mention I don’t particular like moths, to eat that is, I’ve nothing on a personal level against them, after all they have some of the bets names in the natural world but as appetisers not so much…… I once found, or rescued, a long-eared bat from a demolished outbuilding, it had been sleeping, roosting, hibernating more like behind a rotten wooden baton, snug as a bug in a rug… or a bat in a baton… It was still early March, not exactly normal flying time for bats unless it’s a particularly early spring which that years wasn’t… still at least half-asleep, the bat that is, I found a shoe box, filled it with newspaper and shreddings, placed it in another shed nearby with plenty of exit points high up safe from any possibly predators… for two weeks I kept an eye on it and all the while it seemed to sleep, or hibernate, or could well have been half-dead for all I knew, being it was barely breathing… although that’s normal for hibernation… after two weeks I was almost giving up when it finally shivered itself awake and eventually, phew, took flight on a night that was just about bat-flying temperatures… and it was gone to bat another day, and night, and hopefully many more after that.

© 2018 robert greig

the first note (21/April/18)

blackbird tells the robin it’s time to wake up now… robin tells the great tit there’s just enough light to alight the uppermost branches and sing… or sing-saw-sing-saw as they more commonly do…great tit tells the blue tit not to be so slovenly but get its feathered rump out here forthwith… blue tit tells the chaffinch, the stout and lazy but ever-so proud chaffinch still plumped-up in its plumagelical coat and hoping for a sleep-in after a heavy night out on the twigs… but then the wren will sure to be sure this won’t happen as it’s been there all this time, small as it is, practising its stealth below the light, below the lowest clumps of the lowest leaves rifling through the debris putting food first as there’ll be plenty of time for song later but then sounding a lyric so resounding and ever-long lasting as to knock even the burbling goldfinch off its perch busy doing impression of bubbling brooks… and they all tell the dunnock but dunnocks are dunnocks and being dunnocks and far too haughty refuses to play and pays little attention to demands that he join in the chorus to the noodling of beaks and trilling of tales of flighty adventures from yesterday and always, always, does what a dunnock will do, as dunnocks will do what they want, as dunnocks this is their way… meanwhile the chiff-chaff and willow warbler wait in the wings holding their wings to themselves for now, waiting their turn, for a gap in the looming cacophony, the chiff-chaff hoping then no one will notice they only have two notes and the willow that can’t help but long for something or other, maybe an end to its song that it’s never yet found as its melody trails in descending tones… by now there’s kerfuffle, the blackbird’s aware, there be thrushes of other kinds sticking their oar, or syrinx, into the mix, the mistle and appropriately-named song thrush, the former brings somewhat and edge to proceedings, while the latter a fluid enchantment which the blackbird can only ooze jealousy while jealously keeping its own random tunery lining the dawn… the three of them waiting, waiting to see, who’ll get their first, get the first, get the first early worm, the blackbird, the mistle, the song, who’ll be the first to snaffle a slug or a snail or wrestle the wiggly worm from its hole… not to forget that high upon high the jackdaws stare down wondering what all the fuss is about, what is this thing called a ‘song’, what is this this they call ‘singing’, what it this mellifluous rhapsody strafing the silence that leaks like the dark with each minute that bleeds into dawn… and the rooks, well the rooks, an occasional caw, one here and one there, to them it’s just all so beneath them and anyway they have got nests to build with sticks bigger than themselves so don’t have time to fritter and waste on such minstrelsy ditties, their gavottes and their fugues, sonata, toccatas, rondos, etudes, their mazurkas or serenades, ragas and reels, not least because they can’t do it themselves… and so the garden wakes, wide-eyed and shimmering, hugging the breeze and growing new leaves and all because the blackbird sang the very first note, all the while keeping an eye out for cats.

© 2018 robert greig

wind of change (17/April/18)

I found a five pence piece on the ground… again, as regular readers of my blog will know I seem to regularly find lost and discarded money, never much though, only ever change, loose change, either singly or several like the other week finding 25 pence in five shiny, silver five pence pieces…… later I found 41 pence, a mix of coins, which meant today I had stumbled on a total of 46 pence!… if this carried on I could be in the hundreds of pounds by the end of day, or tens at least… it didn’t, I wasn’t… I know with the smaller denomination coins some people actually have a habit of deliberately throwing them away… imagine, throwing money away, although some people do it every day eating at one of the various generic McTuckyWay fast food (and I generously use the term loosely by calling it ‘food’) outlets… 41 pence stands at my biggest haul in a single find, apart from when I’ve found one pound coins, often left in shopping trolleys where they’d been used as deposit… well, it’s not as if I can return them to their owners who would’ve been long gone by then…… I’ve actually watched some walk past this discarded money, why?… I never do… either they are so unobservant they don’t see it (quite likely as a LOT seem to be), or think it’s like food dropped on the ground and they might catch something (“you don’t know where it’s been!”), or perhaps they’re embarrassed to be seen scrabbling on the ground to pick up what may be as little as a penny (I am not so proud)… or they think it’s some kind of elaborate prank like maybe it’s glued to the ground and people are watching sniggering at whoever tries to prise it off the ground…… which I have to say has never happened to me and is largely a myth…. talking of change…
… the wind is back with a vengeance, being uproariously and unapologetically ferocious all night, I’ve barely slept with the clattering and banging and worrying  when the next crash form the darkness is coming from as yet something else gets trashed…. discovered this morning the gusts had been strong enough to rip a cast iron sundial off its equally cast iron podium and throw is six feet…… just when you thought it was safe to go forth into spring along comes winds that autumn would be proud of…. but this is spring, don’t you remember, it’s as variable as every other season, more so now with climate change so get used to it… anyway, I’m 46 pence up on yesterday, yay me…..

© 2018 robert greig