Cool CustomersSaturday 17th June 2000
A BLACKBIRD suns itself on a garden path. It half-spreads its wings over the gravel, raises the feathers on its back and half-opens its beak. Sunning probably helps birds control feather parasites. Certainly it must be getting uncomfortably hot for any feather-louse that is caught in the sun amongst that black plumage . . .
'They can't make it too hot for me!'
A Greenfinch sings from a television aerial. the song reminds me of the tones made as a phone call connects, but it finishes its performance with the nasal 'jeeezz!', which reminds me of a garage mechanic in an old American movie totting up a repair bill and, pen clenched in his teeth, taking an intake of breath and saying;
'Jeeezz! - this is going cost you!'
It's warm enough to walk barefoot over the mossy turf and lie on a lawn in the shade of an Ash and get on eye-level with the Daisies.
Two Wood Pigeons fly in and, like the greenfinch, settle on a television aerial. The sunlight is so strong that, even without binoculars, I can pick out the details of their plumage; grey and white wing-bands and a white crescent collar.
I can even see that one of them is making some kind of rapid gulping movement - wobbling the feathers on its throat. Perhaps this is a way of keeping cool?