First thing, and the roads are full of birds, but two species dominate. Magpies are everywhere, and quite skittish. No misery though, no singles. I’m barely at the green and into silver, gold and a secret never told. Before the village sign it’s ten plus, past the De’il himself and into unknown territory. Is there provision for twenty and more?
They’re put into the shade by Woodpigeons though, for there are dozens, perhaps hundreds lining the sides of the road at 4.30. They crowd in across the verge and on to the tarmac. Only at the risk of being hit do they even think about shifting. They’re faintly ridiculous, constantly looking somewhat surprised that they’re in the way. Their ubiquity pushes them into being a rather humdrum bird, but like Starlings or Sparrows or anything we overlook, it’s rather shortsighted.
They carry the bemused yet haughty expression of a middling dandy who realises he is perhaps no longer worth the candle, but has still managed to dress well in high collar and iridescent cravat. It is our fault we do not appreciate him, he is trying to keep up appearances after all.
I’ve noticed from pictures I’ve taken that they have this odd fissure on the pupil, like a blob of black emulsion that has suddenly broken its own surface tension and is bleeding across a field of Farrow and Ball paint. Ridiculous things, but I can’t help liking them.