The Director’s Cut ?

Had to happen. Always does. The last – I hope – cut of the back lawn for the year. Fair to say I have been putting it off: too wet, too dark, too soon …

Not my favourite occupation, cutting grass

But, finally a reasonable day, warm for the time of year, and it won’t get any drier now until we get longer  days. The mower struggled, getting clogged up and needing clearing out several times. The stew of fallen leaves, mashed rowan berries and grass cuttings; honestly no reasonable person would abuse a mower the way I do.

But in the warm sunshine I decided to do a little more tidying up: some terracotta pots: into the greenhouse.  Some timber: sawn and added to the woodpile … the fire-pit and wooden bench  away into the shed.

Various plastic bags – we use them to ferry “stuff” about – collected together and, folded up into the garage. Beneath one:


So pleased to see  toads in the garden. We have a pond that they spawn in and, along with frogs, I always hope there is habitat here. They are an important part of our wildlife and provide an organic pest-control patrol. I find them fascinating: the mythologies and truths. But I would have thought they would all be hibernating by now. Perhaps this one was expecting to sleep beneath the bag and I disturbed him (or her?)

It was also necessary to re-arrange the contents of the shed in order to get the bench and summer-garden furniture in for shelter. Stepping out I was confronted by a throng of blackbirds, storming the two mountain ash trees. Again my thinking proved wrong: blackbirds, I always believed do not flock but are territorial. Not so today. Eight birds, female and males. Wrestling the bright berries from the tips of branches. Very acrobatic, some short flights from branch to branch, tree to tree: no quarrelling.

Why these birds do not take the berries from the ground is a question that forms in my head. Possible danger?

Later in the house I am aware, suddenly, of different birds in the same trees. Turns out they are bullfinches. Usually so distinctive with vivid scarlet plumage. Not this pair, rather dull in colour, but characteristically busy and swaggering. Looked neat through the binoculars.

Later still. The same tree has a pair of crows in it. Big, dark bodied, but quite agile. They seem to be basking in the last rays of the setting sun. It gets cold very quickly now when the sun is gone. Then the harsh chattering of a single magpie. It lands on the shed roof, tips its head back and calls again. Seemingly for reinforcements; for soon another magpie appears. They swing up into the rowan; trying to intimidate and harass the crows. The crows remain unconcerned. More calling. Another pair of magpies appear. Then a fifth. Finally another two. They try and get close to the crows, which simply flap to the very top of the tree, where the pies cannot get to them.


5 responses to this post.

  1. We have a toad, even without a pond. Sue


  2. I haven’t seen any toads in my garden at home but lots of frogs and no pond! I leave a tray of water out for them with a plastic bag over the top and they seem to like it. I’m planning to take several over to the allotment when I get the pond in!


  3. Sounds like a great day. Thanks for including our take on berries and ravenous winter creatures, too!


  4. What a nice variety of birds.
    There are so many crows here…. must be because of all the politicians. 🙂


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