RSPB Bird watch weekend. Free entertainment for myself and son, for an hour anyway.
Watching the birds visit a feeder or table has always been a pleasurable distraction for the both of us, the ‘woodland walk’ has added a new place to feed and observe when taking food for the ducks at the local lake, but the table in the yard has been the focus of many an hour. Today was slightly different, we had a couple of sheets of paper, with pictures, of birds to spot visiting.
My idea was to observe in the warmth of the kitchen, cup of tea to hand. My sons idea was to do it outside, in the cold and the wet. Alas no amount of persuading would change his mind, so off to the garage I went, to find my old fishing shelter. Around a half-hour later I emerged triumphant, shelter in hand, along with a waterproof bed for spot, I thought we could share, and a ‘tent chair’. The ‘tent chair’ has no legs and looks like a right angled piece of nylon (padded) held together by webbing. The theory is that your legs counterbalance your torso leaning back, it works well so long as you have your legs outstretched, deviate from that position and its a tumble backwards. It was several tumbles later that I gave up on the idea as a long term seat. Should be fun to watch someone else sit in it.
As my son got ready to join me outside I started to unpack the shelter, a half dome tent to be honest. The wind was blowing the ground sheet around, so I got him to stand on it, he wanted to help! Then it started to rain, so I threw the tent over him. There he stood, like a green ghost, with an oversized sheet. I glanced toward the kitchen window, there stood my sister, giggling at the site. Sliding the first of the fibreglass poles into the sleeves a slightly panicked voice came from the green ghost, “what are you doing?”. I think at this point it would be fair to mention we had, moments earlier, been watching a rat within that vicinity. “putting the poles in” I replied oblivious to the fact he could not see me. “Oh, ok.”, with a sound of relief spoke the green ghost, “Put your arm up, you can hold up the pole whilst I go round and do the other side”. My sister at this point is now laughing and the weather has turned worse, it started to hail.
Now I don’t know how often you have your child standing on a sheet of plastic with his arms in the air holding another sheet up along with a pole, in the rain and hail, but even writing this down, this is not that strange a thing for us to do.
Tent up we, well I, Little fella was already in, got out of the hail/rain. Not good weather for birdwatching, It also did not help that the door had to be closed to keep the rain out! Shower over and the door went up. I went into the shed to get the deck chairs, there was no way I could have sat like that for an hour. Finally we were ready, papers…check, pen…check, comfy chairs…check, shelter…check.
My son, five and a half years old, is not known to be the most patient, and truth be told, I never expected to be outside for the full hour. But we were. He looked through my binoculars at this and that, it had to be this and that as the birds were few and far between. The total for the hour…Seven.
We retired back to the house, for a steaming mug of honey and lemon.