13th January 2023

Not much came up since yesterday, certainly not the temperature, but before I drag you off on another soggy cross country trawl…

The sudden return of cold weather caused an increase of interest in the feeding stations and brought us a new, rather jolly little visitor.

Usually when I respond to a summons, by the time I get to the kitchen window the object has taken itself off.

Happily, this little chap was more obliging.

No doubt its interest in food was first priority.

This is not a familiar face, so out came the bird book.

Which told us that this is a White Crowned Sparrow.

Additionally, that these birds migrate through New York.

So this particular bird is either very early or very late, depending on its personal perspective.

There was no sign of its flock.

“Be sure to photograph my crown!” it said, bowing:

Such a pretty bird.

Clearly, just a guest appearance.

Meanwhile its cousins were absorbed in finding a drink, which gave me the opportunity to take more snaps, while they were distracted.

“Missus, it’s froze!”

They were quite put out.

It had been only a couple of hours since I dumped the ice out of the trays and re-filled them.

With a little persistence, the Sparrows drilled holes and were able to get their drink.

By the garage and on the back patio we have heated bowls but in the front there is no power source to plug one in.

When I saw the water had frozen over I was tempted to go and change it again, but at that rate I would be running back and forth all day.

Anyway, the Sparrows soon moved over to the seed trays.

When I came back to the window an hour later, there were a couple of other visitors.

A Brown-headed Cowbird and a Starling were now pecking at the ice.

As I watched, the Cowbird flew to perch on a hedge where two of the Sparrows bounced on its head! (Literally). So Cowbird moved to another perch where his attackers had another go.

But then Cowbird must have offered up the correct password or signed an agreement, because it was allowed to join the feast without further drama.

Cowbird stared at the ice:

“Oi, Starling! You with the long beak.”

“Make us a better hole!”

Starling had something else in mind.

So Cowbird went to grab a seed while the Sparrows were still friendly.


Now you’d better get your galoshes back on, because we never take a direct road home, even on a stinky day.

Stinking wet is what Friday was.

Not that we could think of complaining, given the floods and storms everywhere else.

Yesterday I read that in Northern India it is very cold.

Not so long ago they had record heat.

Climate is not something I ever studied, but I have been observing for decades. Air pollution too.

As gloomy as Friday was, my frame of mind was fine.

Yet Brain kept repeating a sobering thought.

Wet, grey winter days shine a highlight.

What seems a slight untidiness on a fine day

becomes a monstrosity, on a day like this.

Brain turned the wet, winding road into a metaphor.

It was inevitable, I suppose, that we would reach a crossroad.

And then another.

By which time we had rather lost track of our whereabouts.

But soon we came upon a familiar lake where people were ice-fishing which was rather a surprise, considering how mild our winter has been so far.

Even mild winters are not kind to country roads, so our passage was not exactly smooth.

Which is my excuse for this fuzzy frame.

It somehow fit into that day’s sequence.

Now don’t go hanging up your water-wings just yet.

We’ve got to go around the lake and find our way home…


You my have noticed, I did not relate the nature of Brain’s sobering thought.

Why mention mine, when I know everyone can supply one of their own?

However, I cannot abandon you with a downer. The older I get, the more I tend to simplify everything. It is so much less stressful to the system. And when I need to dismiss a gloomy though, I fall back on:

“Where there is darkness, (there is ) light.”

Everything in life is about perspective. Like that little bird. Early/Late., On/Off…etc etc

4 thoughts on “Simplicity

  1. That is a beautiful little birdie (and it really looks like a crown) 🙂. My Brain likes the long winding road – even on a gloomy day! “There is light” … these days with the ever persistent loadshedding, light is something we don’t often see … what can one do, try to live with it I suppose.

  2. Some unusual and delightful birds indeed. I don’t put water out when we have heavy rain, as there are plenty of places for the birds to drink. It was interesting to see them peck at the ice for refreshment.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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