Country diary: the birds here are consigned to memory

Airedale, West Yorkshire: It’s just as well that I can identify at least a few of them en route because they’re adept, once they’ve landed, at burying themselves within the deep dark greens

I mistake an ash tree full of starlings for an ash tree full of sodden bunches of ash keys (“Don’t those damp ash keys look a bit like… Oh”). I’m often wrong about things. I sit in our park, in the shadow of the steep wooded glen, and think about what I know and how I know it.

Most of the birds here occupy a different stratum of the park to me and the other parents pushing pushchairs, the kids on scooters, the couples lockdown-dating on benches, the path-pounding joggers. For the birds the park is a network of treetops – mostly evergreens, rich in cones and yew berries – with a lot of awkward open space in between.

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