Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Perching pigeons and other birds

It was a lazy Sunday morning. We trooped up the road to a late breakfast in a smart wee cafe and wandered into town along the river, past a big London plane tree hung with great stick nests. Several of these had solitary grey sentries and from these grey heron came all kinds of unearthly utterances. We headed into town to wander the corridors and rooms of London's fantastic Natural History Museum. At one corner of the building, pigeons perched in their own wee niches on the London Underground sign. In the depths of the museum, amidst all kinds of treasures and artifacts, my eye was caught by a gem of a bird, a single stationary hummingbird of a kind we had studied out in the searing heat of the Bolivian cerrado. This dry grassland specialist has only a Scientific name, Helactin cornuta. This bird is positively tiny and so far from it's homeland and yet, it carried me back there instantly, to the heat and the buzz of tiny wings, and the incessant buzzing of sweat bees.