From troubles of the world I turn to ducks


Dear Wood Warbler,

The more frightening the news, the more I fancy a nice wildlife distraction. Uncertain Brexity future? Why, just look at that lovely oak tree, it’s been there for seven hundred years! Scared of Putin? Look, lovely ducks. Ducks don’t care about Putin.

At the moment, I’m not sure what kind of wildlife event would be a good enough distraction. Maybe an undiscovered species landing in my garden, or a baby moose turning up in my hall.

In general, I’d like to recommend that terrifying world events should be scheduled in the summer, when there’s so much more lovely & consoling wildlife around.

Anyhow, here are the things I’ve seen this week.

Two squirrels, doing what is scientifically known as a sex chase on the New River Walk. It went like this: chase, pause, chase, a bit of tail biting, chase, break – for both parties to eat nuts. This went on for a while. Finally, (maybe through boredom) the chasee gave up, and the chaser straddled her. Whatever was being done to her, it didn’t seem to have that much of an impact. She carried on eating a nut for the duration.

The second wildlife event was a proper great tit fight in my garden. By the way, if you want to find out more about great tit behaviour, I highly recommend that you don’t google the phrase ‘great tit fight’. I was busy reading depressing news working in my kitchen when I heard all this high pitched cheeping. The two great tits were fighting by the bird feeder – then one managed to pin the other one to the ground. They flew up in the air again, darting around each other, whirring through the garden, before one pinned the other to the garden wall. It was vicious. It was thrilling!

I really thought I liked nature as a tonic against nastiness and violence, but it turns out I’m actually just quite up for watching a massive fight.

This week I’ve also seen lots of tiny shoots and buds appearing on bare branches. They make me think that maybe we’re not in the end times, after all. My favourites are the sloe saplings I’ve got on my windowsill. More of their light green leaves keep bursting out every day. They make me think that the future will contain good things, like life and colour and gin.


London Pigeon

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