Cat in an Ash TreeWild West Yorkshire nature diary, Sunday 23rd May 1999
THE CAT shoots up the back garden ash tree at such a speed that at first I wonder if it's an oddly-marked squirrel. When I see the monster Persian at the foot of the tree, I realise why it was in such a hurry.
It settles down in the fork for ten or fifteen minutes and, when it's clear that the Persian has moved on, it starts to lower itself down backwards, finding slight rises on the trunk to rest on so that it can look over its shoulder and assess the next pitch. When it gets to within a couple of yards of the ground it lets itself drop in a frantic free-fall.
It soon composes itself, spray marks the ivy with its tomcat scent message and strolls off nonchalantly down the garden path, away from the Persian's territory.
In the afternoon, my friend John comes to photograph the brood of Robins which are now practically falling out of the teapot. He sets up a camera a few yards away from the nest. It has a telephoto the size of a mortar, a saucer-sized lens that looks a monster eye and, to complete the ensemble, he dons a Rambo-style poncho, which isn't the ideal camouflages against our back lawn. After half an hour the adults are still bobbing about in the bushes calling in alarm and he decides he'll come back another day with a remote control.
To be honest, the adults seem to be aggitated about some other threat. Half an hour later they are still calling and we see a Sparrowhawk take off over the rooftops.