Sunday, 2 January 2011

Recycling.



A short, early walk with Tess this morning, down the lane. It is a chilly morning but there is a ribbon of golden light around the horizon, which suggests a better day to come. And at least the snow and most of the ice has gone, although icy puddles on the side of the lane tell of overnight frost.

The early walk was for a special reason. Yesterday after lunch I walked with Tess and the farmer down the lane and the farmer, who has a keen eye, spotted a dead hen blackbird at the side of the lane. Blackbirds have this habit of flying low over the road when they are startled. Every year I see four or five dead, suggesting they have been startled by an approaching car and have then been hit by it as they fly low.

This dead hen blackbird, with her feathers the colour of the surrounding earth, lay face downwards with her wings outspread. She was covered in drops of water. Unusually, I didn't have my camera in my pocket and - stupidly - I didn't go straight back to photograph her - I went this morning. She had gone.

I guess she had been recycled. There was no feather, no claw, no sign at all that she had ever been there. I would guess that a fox had passed that way during the night and got a cheap and easy meal - and what could be better, that she should be recycled like this. If she had been eaten by carrion crows there would have been remnants, but there was nothing.

The farmer says it is too early for a fox to have cubs (they mate around Christmas time), and suggests that she may have been taken by a stoat or a weasel. Whatever it was, she was definitely carried away and not eaten on the spot.

On the lane there is little or no colour. The trees are bare and look lifeless; the grass is lank and brown with little or no sign of rejuvenation, there are as yet no young nettles peeping through, no early signs of cow parsley - remember that here the snow has only been gone for a week and there have been hard frosts. So I was pleased to spot this lichen brightening up the 'dead' branches of an ash sapling - just one bright suggestion that Spring is only a matter of ten weeks away.

todays aros: a dead blackbird, covered with pearls of dew, lies in the dead grass.

14 comments:

Heather said...

It's good to think that the blackbird didn't go to waste and helped to keep another creature alive. The lichen is so beautiful in colour and texture. I always want to bring some home with me when I see it but resist the urge.

mrsnesbitt said...

As I sit here in the snug I am aware of the mistlethrush watching me - breakfast is required! Dxx

Dave King said...

It's a beautiful sunny day here - the first for many a long day, and I'm just wondering how much recycling is taking place out there...

Crafty Green Poet said...

the one thing that stops me getting really upset about finding dead birds etc is that they do get recycled and help to feed other animals.

Lovely lichen in the photos!

Happy New Year!

steven said...

the movement of life is an extraordinary process. i too look for colour of any sort at this time of the year. ten weeks eh? hmmmm. steven

George said...

It is well said that nothing is lost in nature; everything is recycled, as we ourselves shall be one day.

Pondside said...

The moss here is as bright green as I've ever seen it - compensation for grey skies at this time of year. We lost one of our laying hens yesterday - taken in broad daylight by who-knows-what.

Eryl said...

I love a bit of lichen, and have so many photographs of it I could paper the walls of a large room. Nice to think of the blackbird feeding a hungry stoat (or whatever).

Happy New Year to you and the Farmer.

Penny said...

Lovely colour of the lichen. I am afraid nothing eats blackbids here I like their song but they are an introduced pest here an drive away my thrushes and other birds.

Dominic Rivron said...

This River of Stones reminds me of a Zen story from "the book" (sorry, I have a bee in my bonnet about these stories at the moment!):

Every-Minute Zen

Zen students are with their masters at least two years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: "I suppose you left your wooden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs."

Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in's pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

Lyn said...

Ten weeks, you say? That seems bearable....I will look for a bit of color in the park...and the poor dead bird filled a need for some creature...

annell said...

Just a lovely write! I enjoyed it very much!

Caroline Gill said...

We went for a walk yesterday, hoping to see birds (well, we saw a few) and hoping, hoping against hope, to hear a Bittern, but alas, it was not to be this time . . . though there have been sightings in our area. All I really came away with were lichen photos, too. Will post in due course . . . Meanwhile, 'Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!'from a grey Wales.

Golden West said...

Your lichen is a marvelous color - sunny and bright on a cold winter's day!