Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wildlife in North London

J woke up ridiculously early and went off to watch sport in the sitting room, whilst I stayed in bed reading, only to get a shock when a big black shape swooped right past the window. It was a heron, flying very low through our back garden. It beat its wings and wheeled over the garage and flew away down the street, trailing its legs behind it.

Two nights ago, walking back in the rain from a late night run to the Turkish greengrocers for milk, I saw not the usual small ginger fox but three drenched-to-dark-red foxes, strolling down the road together. They saw me, turned round to look, flicked their ears, then walked on, unconcerned, although they sped up when I followed them and melted away into the shadows under parked cars. When I weed the front garden, I usually find a collection of bones, carefully buried. Chicken bones, lamb bones, stolen from bins.

And as I write this, a jay is staring at me. Sitting on the fence, looking at me through the window. It's very windy today, with snow flurries. The sparrows are hunkered down in the ivy on the garage roof, chattering noisily. The grey squirrel who Miff is respectful of since a stand-off on the wall a year ago - is nowhere to be seen. Miff cries to go out into the garden - and then runs in again, looking cross and ruffled; she doesn't like the cold wind blowing up her tail.

I like sharing the city with so many birds and animals. There is a whole secret life going on that we don't always see as we rush about our daily business.



Blogger Simon said...

Your not wrong, there are so many foxes and badgers now.

Hey Rachel, I just noticed (i'm sat in a services on the M4) I listed your blog as 'SarahNorthLondon' for some bizarre reason in my Blogroll. I can't think for the life of me why I did it, but it's changed now.

March 22, 2008 2:39 pm  
Blogger Brennig said...

Looking at that photograph one has an easy visible connection between the Heron and their pterodactyl ancestors.

March 22, 2008 8:36 pm  
Blogger Windypops said...

When you wrote "weed in the front garden" I thought you meant some sort of drunken, couldn't-make-it-to-the-toilet type thing, rather than weed in the Alan Titchmarsh sense.

Glad to see you back on prolific posting form.

March 23, 2008 7:01 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

I did think it was a pterodactyl for a moment. I was very into dinosaurs when I was small.

Windypops, I would never wee in the front garden!

Everyone would notice!

March 24, 2008 10:47 am  
Blogger Clare Sudbery said...

We have herons here in inner-city Manchester, too. A friend of mine had to rescue an injured one from someone's front yard. The heron sanctuary bloke reckoned it had probably been attacked by crows!

March 25, 2008 12:32 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

maybe the foxes you saw are the ones which live in our garden. they have made a den at the bottom and can often be heard screeching at night.

in the middle of Feb we got back from the airport about 3am and whilst we stood in the kitchen making tea Mummy Fox appeared in the front garden and started trying to get in the bins. We stood and watched for several minutes before she turned round, looked right at us and trotted off sharpish down the road.

March 25, 2008 1:57 pm  

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