Old English pheasant appears in Dalston E8

A PHEASANT landed in my garden today, drawn probably from the banks of the Lea and other rustic parts of north London by the table scraps I put out for robins, wrens and other birds. It could also be an escapee from private ownership. A story that has been involving these non-native birds for centuries

Phasianus colchicus was first recorded in England in Norman times, and has spread throughout Britain. More recent introductions by those hawk-hating gamekeepers who farm the birds for the rifle-toting over-moneyed class have resulted in the genes of several species contributing to what has become known as the Old English Pheasant.

The photographs I show here give some credence to my claim of the bird’s appearance today near the heart of London: in zone 2. The pheasant spent 40 minutes eagerly feeding, without attracting the attention of the family of foxes snoozing behind a garden shed ia few backyards away.

Those of you not of the vegetarian persuasion and tempted to bag a bird for the table should remember that the pheasant-shooting season runs from 1 October 2010 to 1 February 2010 — the peasant-shooting season ended long ago. Loving Dalston says: “Please lay down your pistols and your rifles*, as a barely remembered English pop group once sang.

David Altheer 110310 

* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.

© the Oldham, Lancashire immortals Barclay James Harvest

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2 thoughts on “Old English pheasant appears in Dalston E8

  1. So you saw a pheasant.

    I spotted a Little Egret, a couple of days ago.
    A few days previous to that a Merlin landed in the garden,
    no doubt interested in the Long Tailed Tits and Nuthatches
    that frequent the bushes.
    Buzzards are pretty common, and I see the occasional Red Kite.

    If I don’t see at least two million pheasants every day,
    I think I must be in Dalston.

    Oh, and it’s not just Eagles gamekeepers hate, they snare, poison
    or shoot, any living creature they feel might interfere with their
    loathsome livelihood.

  2. The strangest thing I’ve found in my garden since I’ve been paying attention was a a bright yellow spider that turned out to be pretty normal.
    Otherwise it’s just birds, cats, foxes and people and probably rats and mice and cockroaches. Nothing much I’d want to eat.

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