Plenty of work to do after Easter, which today meant another day locked in the house with limited photographic opportunities. The knowing look on the face of this rook was the best I managed, and even then it’s somewhat out of focus. But then again, that also epitomises the day.
Robins succeed because they’ve commandeered the ecological niche entitled ‘we really don’t give a shit about those human creatures’. We turned over a pile of compost on the allotment and this fearless chap was picking it over before we’d moved five feet back. He got the best pickings — woodlice, centipedes, worms — everything else was just in his wake. Birds! Ignore the humans! Be the robin! You’ll not regret it.
Walking down to the station in the morning I noticed a commotion by the side of the road, heard desperate cawing. I thought at first it was a bird with a broken wing, flapping around, maybe having been hit by a car. Then I saw what it actually was. It will be forever regretted that the focus ended up on the wall and not the hawk; I only got the one shot off before it picked up the starling (I think) in its talons and flew off to enjoy its breakfast. But other than that slight lack of focus I can’t complain too much about this one. Surely there is a detectable look of pride on its face. I am also reminded of this picture: which William Blake/Thomas Harris fans will recognise.
Life plods on, with little to do for entertainment except watch the local birdlife. The gulls (you can’t really call them seagulls: here, we’re about as far as you can get from the sea in northern England) seemed this afternoon to be making an intervention, for one side or the other, in the ongoing pigeon-duck war. This one uses a street light as a vantage point, moments before swooping down to pick up some spoils.
Today, it seems, was the 21st day in the 21st year of the 21st century; and that’s about as exciting as it got. Maris Crane (and it is her: the knees are a dead giveaway) was perched on a roof instead of stood in the river at lunchtime, as the water is still flowing pretty fast, though had fortunately retreated from yesterday’s peak. This is far from a flattering shot I know, but I like the shape she makes. (Actually I have no idea whether this bird is male or female, but the identity is fixed for me now.)
This little chap becomes the latest robin to prove that members of his species really don’t see the humans as things to be worried about. He kept a close eye on us as we (Clare, Joe and I) had our sandwiches, while undertaking another County Top walk. This took place nowhere near Hebden Bridge, nor do we intend to be there for a while. Draw your own conclusions.
This is also the latest in a notable run of pictures taken at 1:nn pm: six of the last seven. Times of pictures are never chosen, they just happen; it’s a kind of random number generator, though admittedly some times (daylight, namely) are more likely to appear than others. But a run of this consistency is unusual.
The grey gloom of life is matched by the weather and none of these conditions make for optimal photography. This day last year I was having a very fine day out in Indonesia (and photographing butterflies 5,000 feet up); two years ago I’d just come back from Germany. No similar excursions look feasible for quite some time. The local birdlife will have to sustain me today. I do quite like the correspondence between its little red legs and the chimney pots in the background.
Let us ignore the rest of the world and indulge in some Hebden heron-spotting. I have no idea how long these creatures live, but I would expect a few years at least would be normal for a bird that size, and so I think this is the same bird as pictured on 8/5/17. The particularly sharp neck markings are one clue, but to be honest, the main one is those slightly comical knock-knees. Both photos show this. This is not the rather more butch-looking, and generally bigger, one that I had christened Humph (see 25/5/16, 23/1/17 for example).
So this one needs a name of its own. And I’m going to call it “Maris Crane”. You’ve seen Frasier, right?