The leaves are falling. The Chinese maple in my garden is turning to all the colours of autumn. From the tiny, fresh green leaves of spring, through the dappled shade of summer to the reds and oranges of autumn, this tree fills me with delight.
For some reason, in the past few days, it has offered shelter to a variety of birds – some familiar in the garden, others, visitors. At this point in time, a glossy starling with his bright yellow eyes is drinking from the birdbath in the tree’s shade, and a southern boubou is calling and waiting for its mate to answer it from a few gardens up the road.
The red-billed woodhoopoes woke me with their cackling laughter, and now a robin is hopping around with a small bug it has caught, relishing the snack on my brick pathway.
Bronze mannikins have been splashing at another birdbath in the sun and recently, new visitors are making their home here – a small flock of broad-billed weavers. The weavers are not so keen on the robins and there is great competition for access to the water.
As I was checking the identification of this variety of birds, the boubou came rushing to my window when I unthinkingly played its song on my tablet to see if I was right in the identification of its call. It was obviously prepared to take on all intruders.
But on the whole, they are happy to co-exist in my tree and the surrounding undergrowth. I love the sound of the starlings as the chirrup away, and the song of the robin, when it has time to sing.
And I think, as I sit here and enjoy them how I envy Noah. How wonderful it must have been to see all the birds of the air flying towards the ark. Did he sit and listen to them during that time when it rained? Was he able to sketch them? Did he know, perhaps divinely, what each of them was and which male went with which female? Did he enjoy them?
Maybe I’ll meet him one day in heaven and can ask him some questions. But perhaps it won’t matter then. In the meantime, I will enjoy the birds I have in my garden as they make the most of the autumn bounty.
Ah, there’s an olive thrush digging in the leaves. Excuse me as I check her out with my binoculars …