Tuesday, 20 January 2015


My job at the moment is very much an indoor job, but unfortunately I am not very good at being indoors! Two parts of the business, the office and the shop, lie across a car park, and while you may not think a car park is the most wonderful place for wildlife experiences, please let me share some with you today.

We've recently been having a lot of heavy winds. This has calmed down recently, but the first wee story definitely involves high winds!
Picture the scene. The car park (and indeed the entire business) lies at the bottom of a long valley that the wind travels down. We're at the height of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, and so the winds can be fierce. The silage shed is big, green, and to the westerly edge of the car park, and it shelters the place from the worst of the wind.
Anyway, I arrived for work the other day in high winds. And as I was arriving at the silage shed which is where I normally park, little figures on the roof of the shed caught my attention. Black, but small, I instantly knew they were jackdaws. A family group, five of them. What caught my attention was the behaviour. They were obviously trying to leave, but the wind was rather off-putting so firstly one would take off, try to stay airborne, and then drop down to the roof again, out of the wind. Three times this happened as I watched, as three different birds tried to fly, but their courage alone was not as strong as the wind and they just had to keep trying. I had to go up to the office first, which I did do, quickly, and as soon as the shed was in view again I checked for the jackdaws, but they were all gone. Although the wind had been too strong for them independently, together, they managed to defeat it.

I like being taught lessons by animals!

There's a chirpy wee chappy that's been visiting us in the veg porch recently. A male robin has been discovered in the porch several times recently and he's definitely learning that this is the place to be. There's nothing for him there, no food (I think the food that's in the porch is too big and the wrong type for the robin!), but there's something about it that he likes, and I like him too. Cheeky wee chap, he bounces up to the door on his match stick legs and watches what you're doing with a beedy wee eye. Sometimes he flies in the hatch, taking advantage of the large opening, and he jumps about the baskets. No one had discovered 'deposits' on the veg as yet, but we're all keeping a sharp eye out. I'd rather he had shelter, and we had food than we discovered that we cannot live together after all... So I'm leaving him be just now, long may the alliance last!

I've had blackbirds, dunnocks, footprints of many animals in the snow. It's amazing how many animal interactions we have every day that we miss. I would miss them too if it were not for the longing in my heart for some more wild, more freedom, more sky. The lack of these things is making me restless, ruining my patience, but I think I can last on these small experiences for a little while longer.

How are you faring? Is the winter dragging on, or are you enjoying the outdoor experiences as they come?