Friday, October 1, 2010

The October Blackbird Catches the Worm

As I stood on this first day of October, looking out onto the garden through the patio doors and watching the rain, I thought to myself, "Well there's no chance of any summer this year then." Part of the garden looks sodden and waterlogged, part of it looks sad and neglected, it all in fact looks rather a mess.

As I stood there contemplating the universe, how long a coalition government could possibly last, and if all this rain will lead to an increase in the price of chips, I noticed movement on the edge of what was once upon a time a lawn. Out from under the foliage of the spreading "Black Bamboo" - the one thing that seems to thrive on drought, flood, pestilence and neglect - popped a Blackbird.

The plumage of this seemingly water resistant bird was predominantly black but with brown wings and lacking the orange yellow bill and eye circle of an adult male, so I presumed it to be a juvenile male Blackbird. Maybe a youngster from one of the broods that we have watched in the garden earlier this year, but seem to have been absent for a while.

With little or no regard for the persistent rain, this little feathered bundle dashed directly for an obviously earmarked spot where he "quick as a flash" and with one swift peck of his beak, plucked a worm out from between the blades of wet grass. Down it went in one go like a thread of Spaghetti after which the happy chappie smacked his chops with delight.

I expected he would now dash back under the cover of the bamboo or fly away to some other place of shelter, but no, he had a taste for blood and there were more worms to catch. I watched for a while as he entertained me, brightening up my otherwise dismal and dreary afternoon. He would stand still and listen, cocking his head very slowly from side to side to get a fix, to mark an exact location for the next strike. He also did that pitter patter rain dance that Blackbirds are well known for. This little fellow seemed so precise and so successful, darting swiftly to a point where he would thrust forth his beak with pin point accuracy to secure another worm that had ventured to the surface because of the rain.

Thankyou young blackbird for the pleasure you gave me and for the perfect demonstration of how the October Blackbird catches the Worm.

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