Leatherhead, Surrey, England
How to Observe Birds
She approaches with the slow rhythmic tapping of two metal sticks as firmly and purposefully as a heron. We offer her a place on the wooden bench. No, no she says she'd prefer to stand.
From her backpack she produces a well-thumbed book, opens it to display a page profusely annotated in a small dark script, proceeds to explain the differences between grey wagtails, male and female, adult and juvenile.
'Did you bring your binoculars?' she asks.
We confess that we don't possess a pair.
'Oh well,' she says resignedly, 'in that case you wouldn't be able to bring them would you.'
from afar the perhaps
of an egret