Sunday 30 October 2016

Dressing up for Hallowe'en


The BBC, in a news article on their website, described the Mexican 'Day of the Dead' tradition as, "Mexicans traditionally celebrate the Day of the Dead with a family picnic beside their relatives' graves or in front of a decorated shrine at home." And somehow, because of James Bond, it is now a 'parade, complete with floats, giant marionettes and hundreds of dancers and performers.'

I guess this is how customs and traditions change over time, so that the original meaning is gradually lost as each generation add their spin or twist to proceedings. Great for tourism, but not quite the soulful, reflective family occasion it once was.

I feel much the same about Hallowe'en. It is very different now from when I was a youngster (ok, that was a long time ago), but even back then we didn't spend much time remembering the dead: saints, martyrs and the faithful departed. 

So there's not a whole load of dressing up at Tense Towers at this time of year. It is left to others, including this wee fellow...

You're probably thinking, "Is that a Dunnock wearing too much make-up and a mask?" Well, the truth is stranger still. This small bird is a Siberian Accentor, which breeds in the Ural Mountains region of Siberia and overwinters in south east Asia.


However, this Autumn, following a long period of easterly winds, several individuals have been recorded in the UK for the first time. One made it to Sandside Bay in Deerness, which is just down the road from Tense Towers (well, just down the road if your point of reference is Siberia!) so, as alluded to in my previous blogpost, I went to see it on Thursday.

After watching it feeding for about 15 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised when it eventually hopped closer, until we ended up on the opposite verges of a muddy track. It was rather confiding, tolerating the presence of weird humans in clothing drabber than our own member of the accentor family, the Dunnock.


Mark said...

wow thats incredible MrTense. Good birding. I've always been into birds but especially the last thirty years, feathered ones! At the risk of repeating myself I still have not had a positive identification of a very strange bird from my very first blog that was way back in 2009 on the west coast of Jura. If you give me a positive identification I will do 20 backward somersaults thru the streets of Stromness!

Imperfect and Tense said...

I haven't the faintest idea what that Jura bird was. I did check if anything odd was reported back then, but nothing unusual in that area.

Imperfect and Tense said...

Mark, I realised that I'd taken your kestrel reference as being the size rather than the colouration. 'Phoned a friend' and got the answer... Yellowhammer.