Posted by: Ross Gardner | April 18, 2021


I have just got in from some of the best birdwatching I have done in ages!

‘Where?’ you may well be asking. Well, given that I am self-isolating due to someone at work registering a positive Covid test and that this demands the mildly frustrating, but necessary requirement of not leaving home, the ‘where?’ in question is no less than my back garden. My garden is small, but I love it and feel privileged to have it at my disposal, something very much not to be taken for granted.

And what of the birds, that comprised this ornithological extravaganza of which I am presently to enthuse over? Well, there were quite a few starling and number of woodpigeon; a pair of robin; a great tit, blue tit and magpie; a little wren that stopped by for a minute or two and a couple of house sparrow up in the cherry tree where a blackbird sang. Oh, and a there was a lesser black-backed gull that slid soundlessly by overhead.

Now, perhaps to the disappointment of any self-confessed, serious birders that may have found their way here, this is not exactly a thrilling list of species. Even so, I have today whiled away a couple of hours in the spring sunshine watching them, without any thought of wanting to see anything else.

The Robin

I was out with a sketchbook, with hope of snatching some glimpses of the comings and goings of life in the garden. My endeavours as an ‘artist’ (very important inverted commas, those two) could best be described as nascent, the fruits of which are not of any great pertinence here. Rather it is the act of doing it. The alteration of perspective, subtle though it may be, necessary if one is to have any hope of capturing the subject on a page, that can give a refreshed view of the most familiar components of the world immediately around us, be they expressed by the plumply ruffled feather of preening pigeon, the ragged splendour of a sun-glossed starling or the simply wonder of a blackbird in song.

It is a good thing, I think, to every once in a while ground ourselves in such a way – by whatever means we choose – to help ensure that our sense of value of the natural world might be better aligned; to not take for granted the every day.

A Magpie of the roof.

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