Sunday 6 February 2011: Ruffled
Jackdaw on saltmarsh, Arnside, Cumbria
I set off this morning with the intention of doing another Wintering Bird Atlas square on the coast close to Flookburgh. It became obvious within a few minutes that the rain was just too persistent, and I would end up thoroughly soaked with a sodden notebook and steamed-up binoculars. The high tide was due just after noon, and the survey would therefore not be possible in the afternoon when the rain might (and did) ease off. So I turned back for a lazy day at home.
I had a go at changing the failed headlight bulb on the Jazz. Kneeling in the drizzle on the gravel of the driveway, I found that you need to be a contortionist with the hands of a small monkey to gain access to the bulb holder. The Jazz is a compact little car, ingeniously designed and built, but clearly not intended for DIY car maintenance. Without reference to the manual, I couldn't even work out how to access the headlights (under the wheelarch). This is the first time in over 4 years a bulb has failed, thank goodness Hondas are so reliable.
Anyway, here's a jackdaw foraging for food on the high tide strandline on the saltmarsh along the Arnside Promenade. These cheeky small crows are gregarious birds that are always present along the prom.
They are semi-colonial in their nesting, and in our part of Arnside there are a lot of pairs scattered about nesting in chimneys. We had to install a cowl on our active chimney a few years ago after a pair nested in it. When we realised they were building, I tried to smoke them out before they could lay their eggs. But one day I didn't have time to light a fire before I went to work, and they were in. They filled the flu from top to bottom with sticks. After the family fledged, the sweep came to clear the chimney. It took him six hours to remove all the debris.
If anyone is interested, the concert last night was in the Staveley Roundhouse Theatre. The artists were a duo called Blackheart, and they had a full-house audience of 50 people. It's a compact and intimate theatre. But the quality of the playing and singing was high. They were playing their own music which is mainly folk influenced.
As a postscript to yesterday's entry, I said I will do an at least occasional series of blip alternatives. In the main this is to challenge me to take different sorts of photos to my normal fare. Today's, however, is another shot of the jackdaw in rather unconventional pose, see link. If I could do that with my head, changing that headlight bulb would have been a little easier.