My Birding Wishlist for 2013

I’m going to try not to be greedy, here — my inclination, of course, is to wish for ALL the birds, every last one, storks and cranes and eagles and bustards and boobies, bitterns, burrowing owls, wallcreepers, treecreepers, a BIG bag of finches — everything flightless, everything puffy; a psittacine confection or two, to make up for the Christmas sweets I won’t be eating, this morning —

— wait, that wasn’t my wishlist. That was wishful thinking, with a twist of bitterness. Bitterness. Bittern-ness. Hee-hee-hee (groan). I’m limiting my real wishlist to three birds, just three. Three birds I stand a chance of seeing.

My first lucky bird‘s the treecreeper. I’ve never seen one, or even heard one, but I’m told we get them round here, and I want one for my list. The treecreeper, I think, is an underrated bird. It’s brown; it’s small; it’s plump — if it lived in the city and ate rubbish, it’d be a trash bird. But I like its round shape, and brown’s my second-favourite colour, next to red. And it eats spiders. Anything that lessens the spider population is all right by me.

My second pick‘s the wren. Any wren will do. I haven’t seen a wren in ages, not since my flat was invaded by a particularly destructive Bewick’s wren, must’ve been ten years ago, now. If I do see a wren, I’m going to follow it home and vandalise its nest — you know, splash white paint on it, rip out the soft feather lining, spread rubbish everywhere — same things it did to my flat. (Not really. But I’m going to photograph it, and add it to my list.)

My final bird‘s the common nighthawk. Common, my arse! I’ve been peering into the evening sky for ages, with nary a glimpse. Maybe they don’t come this close to the city. I might have to go somewhere, to see one. I wish I had someone — someone with a car — to take me birding. It’ll be terribly embarrassing if I have to ask a taxi driver to park up while I scour the skies, particularly if nothing appears.

(Perhaps I ought to be planning driving lessons, rather than birding expeditions!)

More gullie madness!

They’re not afraid of me, at all. Shooing has become markedly less effective. I was up in this gull’s face with a camera, maybe three and a half feet away, and it didn’t even stop eating. I had to go out on the balcony and wibble my fingers at it, to get it to leave. Even then, it barely shifted: it executed a graceless manoeuvre, somewhere between flight and bounce, which took it as far as my neighbour’s railing. There it waited, till I went back inside, and flump, it was back on my feeder.

A gull regards me insolently.

A gull regards me insolently.

Why’ve I got gulls, all of a sudden? For nearly a year, they ignored my feeder completely, and now I can’t get rid of them. Horrid, messy creatures! I need a plague of starlings, or something similarly aggressive, to frighten them away.

Its beak is smeared with stolen suet and sunflower heart bits.  Get off my feeder, gull!

This gull’s beak is smeared with stolen suet and sunflower heart bits. Get out of my feeder, gull!

If you don’t hear from me again, assume I’ve been mobbed and devoured by gulls.

Stop doing that with your head, gull.  What a creepy angle!

Stop doing that with your head, gull. What a creepy angle!