Last week, I ring Anth at work and rather excitedly exclaimed.
"Darling, guess what? I've had a Chiffchaff in the garden!!"
Long pause...."Mmm, am I thinking you have had another chaffing experience, er..rather like London..?"
"No, no. It's a bird. I looked it up in my book and it was right by the window hopping around in our dead plants."
Audible sigh of relief on the end of the phone.
After years of having no birds in our garden apart from magpies and seagulls, last year I tried my very hardest to encourage some. When I say encourage, read - doing everything, even BEGGING! I started to get a few sparrows then suddenly there was nothing.Posts here, here, here and here which chart my bird obsession. All winter there have been no sightings of anything. My lovely colleague at school who is an expert on birds and knows the entire 'Observer Book Of Birds' did her best to reassure me with various reasons as to why they wouldn't venture out to visit me. I have tried very hard not to take it personally but have been known to groan rather loudly when I see birds just fly on by without stopping and always have half an ear listening out for any chirping in the trees at the end of our garden. I won't even go into the amount of mouldy, untouched bird food I have had to throw away. No, best if Anth doesn't know..!
But lately something unusual has happened. Since January I have seen blue tits, sparrows, 2 pairs of blackbirds, a redwing as well as the chiffchaff. Yes, all in our garden! I have been beside myself with excitement, spending time just willing them to stay and feed some more but not being well enough to go and restock the feeders with fresh food. (That isn't what Anth calls a priority when he is running the house and looking after me!) But Saturday was a good day for me and I felt able to go out and refill. I then went into the house to watch.
But hang on...where were the blue tits going as they flew over the neighbours gardens...I went upstairs to look out of the window to get a better view...
Hanging on a garage wall four gardens away was a feeder - a much bigger feeder than mine!!
"Anty, are you going anywhere near a shop that sells bird feeders by any chance....???"