Great Fireballs from Taurus


Inspired by BBC’s Autumnwatch I headed into the garden to listen for the sound of migrating redwings passing over head on their way from Scandinavia and stumbled into a meteorite shower, if such a thing is possible.

A shooting star flew overhead and I wished on it, automatically, a human thing to do but then, overhead I could see lots of tiny meteors whizzing around and ran out of wishes.

My neighbour Bill came into the garden for a smoke followed by his loyal sidekick, his chihauhau, Blue. I lay still on the bench in the garden trying not to alert Blue’s ferocious guard dog instincts. The neighbours think I’m weird enough and I didn’t want to add to the list of tales they could tell their friends.

“We found her laying in the dark, in the garden, staring at the sky!”

I lay there, waiting for the security lights to dim, wrapped in winter layers and Russian hat and watched the sky fall apart overhead. Laced with twenty first century debris of satellites and airplanes, stars fell, flashing green and streaking white tails across the sky.

One hour later, shivering with cold I’ve ventured inside to find that what I’ve been watching are Taurid fireballs, trails of ice and dust from the comet Encke as it orbits the sun.

The shooting stars are set to peak over the next few nights so turn off the tele, forget the whispers of your neighbours and head out there now.

Happiness is……..a buzzard flying over my house.

buzzard Walter Baxter

Walter Baxter

Just had a buzzard fly over my house, in the middle of urban Medway. It circled above on a rising thermal, hunting for what, I do not know.

I wanted to shout out across the gardens.

“Look, a buzzard, the wild is back in town.”

but restrained myself knowing that the neighbours already find my antics strange enough.

First day out in the world

baby with mouth openMy blue tit babies are out! They were in the box at 6.30am this morning but by the time I came out of the shower they were fluttering around my garden like bits of coloured cotton wool blown by the wind. I feel as nervous as a parent watching a child head off for their first day of school. I want to watch over them and chase away the neighbourhood cat who has taken an unhealthy interest in proceedings, waiting with endless patience until I spot him and go haring down the garden in my dressing tit on box

The first few days out of the nest must be the most dangerous time and I curse that I have to go out today and can’t help out these parents who have worked so hard for success. Their industry has inspired me. Round the clock they have flashed in and out of the box like winged jewels drawn, drawn, drawn by the endless begging calls. Now life gets even harder for them. They dash around after the babies, who tumble between tree and box and window pane on wings which seem to short to support them.

A queue for the bird box

blue tit twoThis morning two blue tits and two great tits vied for position in front of the bird box in my garden. One great tit hung onto the hole checking it out for size while its mate swung amongst the willow buds waiting for the verdict. On top of the summer house two blue tits twittered angrily, after all the box had been there’s last year.

Incensed by this intrusion the two blue tits tried to assert some authority, dive bombing the great tits. For a moment all four birds chased each other back and forth in front of the box until I wanted to go out into the garden and say.

“Hold on, break it up. Look behind you and you will see another perfectly good box. We can all live in harmony here.”

But I didn’t. There is no point in being logical in such arguments, it is all about territory. They spun around each other, fuming and wasting precious energy, reminding me of the fights for the best parking space in the supermarket car park. Finally a shiny hub capped, 4 wheel driving magpie swooped in and everyone else scarpered.