We are having a wild old social time during Lockdown. Every evening, round about six, we all meet up for Evening Drinks. All four of us who live in the house. It’s been a nice addition to routine: making a good thing out of being shut in together.
We are of course absurdly lucky in being locked down in the glorious Norfolk countryside. For most of May we took our drinks outside, with the floodplain and its marshes stretching out before us.
But then it got cold again, and we met for drinks in the sitting room, which overlooks the garden. The view is dominated by the bird-feeders, of course.
And it was business as usual as we talked and we sipped, tits and chaffinches on the feeders, pheasants and the odd red-legged partridge on the ground, occasional visits from a great spotted woodpecker. Cindy, my wife, had been much taken with the trusting naiveté of a just-fledged chaffinch.
Then, as if a magician had said a vanishing spell, the whole place was empty. Not a bird in sight. But I had caught a fizz of movement in my peripheral vision, and turned my head only a fraction too late.
Ten yards from the feeders, standing on the grass, its usually upright body making a slight angle to the ground, a little owl. In one talon, giving him that slightly unbalanced look, a prize. A bundle of feathers. Perhaps – it was impossible to tell –a young chaffinch.
Little owls usually look slightly absurd, as if they are trying ever so hard to be really fierce, but aren’t quite up to the task. There is a hint of the teddy-bear in that dumpy silhouette.
No this time. This was a little owl in his pomp, with his supper, perhaps supper for his offspring, at his feet. Telling us that nature is not cruel, any more than it is kind. Nature is merely everything.
Wild June 5 Eddie’s Blog