Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 30/03/2011

A Close Encounter Of The Best Kind


I think I can now count myself up in the same echelons as Steve Irwin, Steve Backshall and Austin Stevens now – after tonight’s wildlife wrangling.

As I arrived home tonight, I stopped short of the house a creature blocking my way. I looked deep into it’s eyes, and it stared back at me, a battle of wills who was going to make the first move. I revved the engine but it continued to glare at me, opening it’s mouth as if taunting me, goading me to play my cards. I waited, but neither of us were going to give ground, so as I held my breath, I tentatively opened my car door, bracing myself for a sudden surge forward by the creature in front me. It remained stationary (a pencil must be lead) it’s beady eye fixed on my every movement. I slowly and cautiously made a move toward it…pulse racing… nothing. It wasn’t going to back down by the looks of it. I was now only a foot away, heartpounding, and I slowly crouched down by it’s side. Still no movement. This cast iron battle of wills wasn’t about to melt.

Testing the water, which seem to be a white water torrent, I gingerly held out my hand 6 inches away from it’s head but still no moment, no blinking, just those ever gazing pupils fixated on my every move. Speaking slowly and softly I reassured my opponent that I posed no threat, despite our apparent size difference. I was now able to gently stroke it’s head but the creature didn’t move, it didn’t react at all. This wasn’t right, there should have been some resistance after all it was wild and particularly mistrusting of humans having been persecuted to the point of scarcity. If the creature wasn’t reacting correctly, something was wrong and to leave it at the mercy of the local domesticated animals was cruel and unfair.

Quickly I ran got a box and a pair of protective gloves to ensure some slight protection and went back to my foe, who was still in the same position. Acting in one quick movement, I picked it up and deposited in the large cardboard container where it stayed for at least 10 minutes. Physically it looked okay, so I was a little perplexed at it’s apparent plight. Perhaps it needed sustenance, I edged a small bowl of water toward it at which point it let out an ear splitting shriek. This at least told me it wasn’t at death’s door. A second later and the Jay flew up to the nearest tree. Our confrontation came to an end with neither of us hurt.

Okay, okay, it might only be a Jay to you but it’s was a wild and vicious bird with a big pointy beak… I’m telling you… it was. (slumped shoulders) yes, i know (in a resigned voice) it wasn’t dangerous at all and it was far more scared of me than me of it but still I’ve done my philanthropic duty for wildlife today and I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m pleased to say this beautiful bird, stayed on it’s perch for another 10 minutes before calling once again and then flying off, seemingly none the worse for it’s ordeal. You can see a picture of a Jay here.

Today’s image wasn’t vicious, nearby or life threatening, but is of a very bolshie coot defending it’s nest from other birds on the water.

My literary work here is done. Good night.

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