Sunday, 14 August 2016

A Partridge out of Place.

I heard an unfamiliar and rather strident bird call at twilight this evening, and traced its origin to something perching on a bracket almost at the top of the telegraph pole just beyond my garden hedge. Although it was partially obscured, I got a good enough view through my binoculars to be fairly sure it was a Grey Partridge (not the more colourful – as it would be, I suppose – French Partridge. The French always were better at showing off.)

Now, this is a bit odd. I’ve never seen a partridge anywhere other than on the ground before, not even in my pear tree at Christmas, so I looked it up on Wiki and found a seemingly authoritative article on the subject (for a change.) The partridge, according to the seemingly authoritative article, is the acrophobic of the bird world. ‘It avoids high places,’ said the article. It likes to perch on gate and fence posts, but that’s about its limit. Any higher than that and it gets dizzy (presumably.) So what was this bird doing 20ft up a telegraph pole? (Apart from making a strident call, that is, which might well have been partridge language for ‘OMG! OMG! How do I get down?’)

So I returned to my rudely interrupted pastime of watching the midges dance against the darkening sky, marvelling at the spectacularly messy grey and orange sunset, and saying ‘hello’ to the bats flitting in delightfully agile manner across the garden. (I think I heard one of them mutter ‘call yourself a bird?’ as it passed close to the telegraph pole, but I couldn’t be certain.) When I looked back at the pole, it was once again devoid of partridges. And here’s a picture of a partridge being where it’s supposed to be:

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