Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 29/11/2012

Not A Dickie Bird

Red, originally uploaded by

I’m not referring, of course, to the retired Cricket Umpire but to a certain winter migratory bird who seems to be avoiding the county in which I live. Including all the outlying areas, there are 48 counties that constitutes this Sceptred Isle; imagine my consternation that Waxwings, certainly one of the most charismatic of winter migrants, have made an appearance in all but 4 counties, a small percentage I think you’ll agree, Dear Reader, but a small percentage that includes Berkshire. Sure, we have more than our fair share of Red Kites, Buzzards, Little Egrets and Egyptian Geese.. but I wanted to photograph Waxwings this year, to finally get some images of these birds that I’d be pleased with. Mind you, casting a glance around the garden, I can see exactly why the birds have stayed away, the blackthorn, hollies and hazel are not the usual well stocked larder that tempts the wildlife into the garden.. in fact there’s not a single berry on the holly trees around the perimeter of our land.

Changing subject, you know how sometimes the preamble, the waiting, the buildup can be better than the actual event? Well, after mentioning how excited I was about the early announcement for the 2013 Reading Festival I was completely underwhelmed by the acts announced…. I’ve seen 2 out of the 3 named, one of which I would contemplate seeing again. Deftones, a Californian metal band that came to prominence alongside the likes of Korn, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, will be playing on the main stage again where I’ve seen them a number of times already.. usually because they were the only alternative at a specific time slot. The quirky Alt-J have been upgraded this year, having completely packed out the smaller Festival Republic tent this year, they’re moving over to the absolutely huge NME tent, such is their popularity… and rightly so, they’re offer a real alternative to all the formulaic supposedly alternative music, with heavy bass driven tunes, fragile introspective vocals, and the occasional kids toy piano providing the catchy melodies – I’ll certainly be heading over for their set in their new territory.. unless, of course, there’s an even more compelling act on at one of the other stages.


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