Blacktop Rain

…and other secret joys

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The war on pigeons

For some reason, my boyfriend and I decided that the end of the summer would be a good time to finally get started on the balcony. In fact, we’ve been meaning to do something about it for the past year and a half, since we moved into our apartment. It’s a great balcony. It’s really spacious and instead of looking out onto a road, it faces onto a courtyard. There’s just one problem: other residents had got there before us. Pigeons. Continue reading



My imaginary pet bird

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This Christmas I got an early present from my boyfriend, a little bird to go on our tree. He bought it for me because I’d previously mentioned a similar tree decoration that I’d had as a kid. It was a similar sized little bird with wire on its feet to attach it to the tree, but the decoration I remember from my childhood was a robin (as far as I can tell this new bird is an as yet undiscovered species – my bird book doesn’t have any promising leads either). Continue reading

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The Greylag Goose

Image by putneymark

Image by putneymark

The clear blue sky and sunshine demand that I leave the house and when I get on my bike I find myself peddling downhill, towards the railway tracks that divide the city from the watery world of the River and the Nature Reserve. It is a steampunk world of flooded gravel pits and made-up land. All watched over by the cooling towers of the coal-fired power station that belch out invented clouds. It is a world stripped bare, cut open and constantly filling back up again. Continue reading

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Visitation from a sparrowhawk

Image by Meneer Zjeroen

Image by Meneer Zjeroen

There is a tree right outside my office at work and someone in the office above me has bird feeders on their window ledge that drop feed down on to my window ledge. This means I usually have a lot of birds right outside my window (and inside it too if I leave it open too wide!). With all the birds around there’s usually a lot of twittering and cooing going on, which is why I looked up from my desk today, wondering why it was so quiet outside. Immediately I saw the reason for the silence – a sparrowhawk.

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Birding at the Edges


I recently read The Urban Birder by David Lindo so I’ve had birds on the brain. Not that they’re ever far from it.

Back home I loved watching the birds in our garden, and despite not having a garden now I try as much as possible to pay attention to birds. These days my birding mainly takes the form of half snatched bird songs and the odd glimpse. Continue reading