Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Sparrows and fly-catchers

I had it in mind to write you a lofty little item about Corsican sparrows, or should I say a polemic about how Corsican sparrows are thriving while sparrows of the UK variety are in decline.

Not now I won’t. I’ve discovered that the little birds that wake me up every morning in this place aren’t sparrows at all but flycatchers – or gobemouches, as they are called here. I focused my attention on these agile but dull-plumaged creatures when a pair tooki up residence behind an exterior light on our terrasse.

The strut holding the light-fitting to the wall is precarious to say the least, and not at all where I would have chosen to build my nest. So about a third of the collection of dry grass and moss they had painstakingly transported to the construction site had in fact fallen on the floor and been abandoned.

We don’t mind sweeping up every now and again, but they have pretty much taken over the back of our premises. We feel we must talk in hushed tones lest we disturb them during dinner, and of course turning the light on in the evening is out, even though I do quite like poached eggs. For their part, they keep us entertained with their acrobatic flights in and out, occasionally hovering like “petits helicoptres” as a friend of ours, similarly afflicted, observed earlier on today.

More if we’re still there when they hatch. In the meantime, I have no idea how sparrows are doing in Corsica – I’m not even sure if there are any hereabouts.

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