This afternoon I found myself at a loose end in central London where I’d gone to meet a friend who, at the last minute, called to say she couldn’t make it. Since I had my binoculars with me I decided to go for a wander around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and see what I could see.
I hadn’t realised just how much bird-life there was around in the heart of London. Apart from about a dozen species of ducks and geese (or ‘duck’ and ‘goose’ as naturalists are prone to say) I saw chaffinches, herons, great tits, tom tits, some sort of wader, crested grebes doing that weird thing with their necks which grebes do, coots, swallows, enormous numbers of pigeons, gulls, starlings, blackbirds, thrushes, magpies (I love magpies), two kinds of woodpecker, at least one bird of prey which I couldn’t identify and various small birds which I had no hope of identifying because I’m crap at it. I also saw squirrels, two rats, a fox which dashed across the road between the cars and some strange species of biped with wheels on its feet.
Around where I live in north London there are owls, foxes and other animals which really ought to live in the countryside. Some people even claim to have seen small deer which I think are called muntjacks. What I’m really waiting for is someone to tell me there are badgers too. Since the council switched us over to wheelie bins the foxes no longer wake me up knocking off dustbin lids at 3am which is a bit of pity and I now only see them if the cat spots one and wakes me up to tell me (which he does when anything slightly unusual happens in the night).
Quite what this entry is all about is beyond me. I just feel kind of at peace with the world at the moment. It won’t last; it never does. I’ll be back to my normal grumpy self soon.
Posted 12 June 2004, 20:02 BST