It has been suggested that I may like contribute to the blogs on this site, which is surprising as this year I have been learning 'How to be a Bad Bird Watcher' by following the advice of Simon Barnes in his book of that title. I've kept no lists and just concentrated on watching and enjoying the birds I happen to see. For instance, consider gulls. I live in a wee house in a cul-de-sac in Alnwick with a very small back garden half of which is garage. On 5th December I was cooking a chicken casserole and threw the cut up chicken skin on to the roof of the garage into the snow. Within a couple of minutes the black-headed gulls were there swooping and calling and picking up the courage to dive down to gobble up their lunch. A brave carrion crow managed to sneak one piece while a magpie fluttered between the gulls but in no time at all the food was gone and so were the gulls. How do they discover the skins in the snow in the first place? On two occasions recently I've heard gulls crying above our house and on looking up they have been telling a buzzard to get out of their way. It is a real delight and thrill to see these raptors flying gracefully over Alnwick. My husband has always wanted to have a herring gull sitting on our chimney, throwing back its head, opening its mouth and shouting joyfully but they always choose a chimney on the opposite side of the road.
I've also noticed that the blackbirds that visit my tiny patch of garden prefer me to throw the apple cores on to the soil rather than the paving stones but I'll have to spend more time admiring them to see if there is a reason why. It is very relaxing being a bad bird watcher.
Mora J Rolley, Alnwick.