Hot Tub Ornathologist

One of the things I love about having a hot tub is that whilst you’re in there it’s as if you’re almost invisible to animals that normally wouldn’t use your garden whilst you’re walking about in it.

On the domestic side it’s true that dogs take a keen interest in all things Hot Tub but that’s probably just because they are constantly anxious to play with humans in an attempt to gain their favour and so continue the food supply.

Cats too treat humans in a hot tub with the same disdain as they do humans outside a hot tub, i.e. they couldn’t care less about them unless it’s feeding time when they moan at such a level as it’s impossible for a human to carry on with any other activity until the cat has been fed.

What I like doing is sitting back and looking upwards, so much more fun that most horizontal views in my garden anyway, what I see there is a fantastic variety of birds, going about their business, unaware of my presence or interest in them.

In the hedge behind my office, that part that rises above my office is the only part I can see from the hot tub anyway but in that relatively small section I’m treated to Robins jumping twig to twig, a Wren heading for the interior, Blackbirds having a right go at each other and anything that comes close to them, Starlings gathering, the odd Magpie or two going about their criminal ways and the madness that can only be life in a small community of Sparrows. How do they make all that noise being so small?

We also get a few rare sightings, at night we’ve seen an Owl, not sure what type, it was dark! I’ve caught a glimpse of a Woodpecker chasing ants or other tiny insects that they seem to be able to get nourishment from.

The best bit though isn’t the craziness of the bushes and trees on the edge of the garden, it’s in the expanse of sky directly above me. There life plays out in dogfights like those of the Second World War, life and death battles involving bravery, daring, bullying masses against menacing prey who are birds of prey themselves just going about their business that’s been instinctively followed since Adam was a lad.

I hate Seagulls with a passion when they’re making a nuisance of themselves in the town, on the quay, near the chips shops and bin bags but a Seagull in flight is a sight to behold, grace personified. They’re captivating and peerless in their command of the skies, their speed and agility achieved with a singular lack of effort, it appears as if they expend no energy at all, burn no calories as they harass a fully grown and terrifying Buzzard that must have flown too close to one of their nests and is being punished by the flock for it’s cheek. Sometimes there’s even a few big black Crows join in to add to the melee. But even with their command of the air, their speed and grace, the Seagulls and the spikey Crows keep a respectful distance from the talons of the big bird of prey. They know that whilst the Buzzard isn’t keen on the attention it’s getting and is quite happy to go on it’s way, it still controls the weapons that it needs to adequately defend itself should the need really arise.

Finally I get the transients, who neither live near our garden nor care for anything that goes on in or around it, they simply fly overhead left to right or right to left and disappear off to the horizon, these are the lone Herons, impressive in size and leave you wondering as you do of a Jumbo Jet, “How does that get off the ground?”.

The huge V formations of Geese at certain times of year flying with purpose in rival gangs, one V after another, speed and solidarity, together, all for one and one for all.

The pairs of Swans that oink with each down stroke of wings, out of time, discordant but also a crucial element of natures symphony, and like the Geese, gone, on to pastures greener.

It’s an element of Hot Tubbing that I hadn’t considered previously or during the purchasing process but certainly one that adds to the enjoyment and keeps me jumping back in!

Chill time chez Walkden

New rattan bit of garden furniture being test driven today! It’s fairing quite well especially as it’s been put together with 3 fewer bolts than the manufacturer recommended. Mind you it would help if they put them in the box!! 

On a related point, the new acquisition was necessary as our lovely swing seat occupying the same position previously was broken by a young man called James Lee-West who was staying at ours against our instructions to Liam whilst we were on holiday. Thank you James!! 

Anyway, back to the here and now, the test drive is involving Mary & I, the two cats, a few chunks of cheese, some twiglets, the Bee Gees in the background and a fabulous decanted Bordeaux Superiore. 

Roll on the arrival of some good friends and the enjoyment of a trademark Matty curry!