As regular readers will know, I’m not currently living in my perfect house. The views are of other people’s windows, and the landscape is sterile – a new build desert.
I was recently surprised to discover that a kestrel has been using my garage as a resting place and left me a regurgitated pellet as a present. The starlings living in a neighbour’s gutter have ramped up their activity. There are more than two adults using the space, so I’m still not sure if they’re nesting.
This week has been very warm, and the desert is blooming: my sulking would-be hedge (my collection of seed and cutting-grown treelings, waiting impatiently in their pots) has come to life. Hairy bittercress is popping up in the cracks. Hoverflies are staking out their territories in the air above my modest lawn, attracted by my potted greengage blossoms.
I am now awoken by birdsong every morning. A woodpigeon has claimed the rooftops, several blackbirds compete for musical dominance and the chatter of starlings is almost constant at times. There are no smaller birds – tits, robins, dunnock, sparrow. Only rooftop-lovers can excel in this tile, brick and concrete environment.
Two days ago I was reminded in a wonderful moment that nature can find you anywhere. I looked out the window, grumpy that I’d spent the whole day indoors when the weather had been so gorgeous, and I noticed a flock of pigeons circling unhappily. The dark shape soaring above them wasn’t a crow though, it was a red kite. A beautiful, magnificent red kite.
I made a grab for my camera – too late of course – but then from the other window I was greeted by a faint row of Kelvin-Helmholtz wave clouds. The king of clouds, each wave lasts seconds, so most pass unwitnessed.
A magical moment, I was reminded that you don’t need a large garden and countryside views for nature to come knocking at the door. I still want that of course, but for now I will just have to remember to make the most of what I have.