Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Winter Consolations

 The most cheering sight of this dismal time of year, or so I find, is the redwing, that elegant little thrush with its sleek eyestripes and russet flanks. After a slightly slow start, the redwings are having a good winter and seem to be busy in every tree and shrub around here. Individually they are (like some other forest-dwelling birds) surprisingly tame, often allowing a good close look before flying off, but a group of them together – and together is what these sociable birds usually are – will suddenly take fright and explode out of a bush or tree with a frantic beating of wings, all taking off together and speeding towards safety. Around here they have stripped the trees and shrubs of all their favourite early berries and are now devouring ivy berries, which, ounce for ounce, fact fans, pack almost as many calories as a Mars bar. This cold winter has brought the redwings here from their even colder Eastern homelands – but what am I saying? I'm sure that at the end of the month we shall be informed that this was the warmest January  since records began, and that this will also turn out to have been the warmest winter... 
   And another cheering thing: blood oranges are in the shops. For their looks, texture and flavour – and their limited season (such a rarity now) – these are my favourite oranges, though, according to the food 'experts' on Radio 4's ludicrous Kitchen Cabinet, they are no different from any other oranges. The palates of these poor souls have been so ravaged by too much kitchen time that they seem unable to taste anything unless unspeakable culinary abuse has been wrought on it. I've yet to hear them come up with one 'idea' that didn't make me wince. 

1 comment:

  1. I belatedly realised that I also saw a chiffchaff this morning lurking in the ivy. On first glimpse I thought it was a blackcap, on second glimpse I realised it wasn't, and on reflection I concluded it was actually an overwintering chiffchaff.It didn't register because I don't think of the chiffchaff as an overwintering bird, but these days it is.