Up at sparrow’s
In my book there has to be a very good reason to get out of bed early on a Sunday morning. These include going on an overseas trip, going flying before the nasty bully nor’wester gets up, or someone is cooking me breakfast.
Last Sunday (18 May) I awoke to … well, not exactly birdsong but the persistent buzz of small motors passing over my house. Once semi-awake I remembered the promise of Duncan cooking me breakfast.
A gathering of aeroplanes and breakfast at the Frasers — what more could a girl want?
After feeding the cat (so he doesn’t eat any more of our feathered friends), I grabbed the camera, leapt over the fence, dodged the incoming flock and arrived to the smell of bacon and avgas, yum.
After breakfast and listening to the table talk I went walking around taking photos. I got to thinking: what are they like? Kind of like sparrows but not quite. Then I remembered dunnocks.
Prunella modularis (Dunnock or Hedge sparrow) [they are kind of modular built] is an inconspicuous and seemingly solitary bird.
A majority of pilots were alone. There was talk at one breakfast table of a pilot who had been seen with a girl. The question was: had she been flying with him? Answer: yes, twice! There was a collective sigh. Another one bites the dust.
It moves in short hops with body inclined forward and flicking movements of wings and raised tail.
They have a short landing and takeoff roll. Most of them have a vertical tail fin. Some like the trikes waggle their wings more than a Cessna.
It never flies high above the ground, except a male on a song perch.
They seem keen on sticking close to Mother Earth. Hedgehoppers. Except when they are showing off.
It takes short straight flights.
Usually due to fuel restraints.
It nests very close to the ground in thick cover, neatly lined with mosses, fine grass, hair and occasionally wool.
There were a few sheepskins in the cockpits and a few wrapped up in bomber jackets with wool linings. Definitely a woollen hat or two. Sometimes they come back to the airfield with vegetation in their undercarriage.
They have high pitched calls.
Their motors have a higher pitch than your standard Lycoming.
Most of the craft had left by lunchtime before the nasty bully nor’wester picked up, and I wandered home through the hedge looking for dunnocks.
I wondered if I could talk my neighbours into cooking me breakfast every Sunday. Perhaps delivered?
- Report and photographs by Bernice Hintz.
» Summer success at the Walsh
» The luxury of living in the Ivory Tower
» Comper moves swiftly
» UAV usefulness increasing
» Woodville’s even dozen
» 60th birthday party for ZK-BNL
» New airline MRO facility
» Hands across the Southern Alps
» Praise earned in tough place