I’ve always been a ‘bird’ of some sort. Coming from Liverpool, I’ve been a Liverbird since the day I was born. In the Girl Guides I was a kingfisher, wearing the badge that went with the name. Later I joined the WRAF and the world of metal birds. Most recently, my daughter declared me a snowy owl, because I’m ‘calm, wise and see everything’. But the bird that affects me most of all is the one that dictates my day. You see I hardly ever sleep. Four hours do just nicely, but I can get by comfortably on two. I’m a night owl that dances till dawn and buys croissants when the baker opens at 5 am. But I’m also a lark, up at the first light of day. That makes me a kind of hummingbird hybrid of both. And to be honest, I like it that way. Lack of sleep is something I welcome. The extra time allows me to do and see things I wouldn’t if I was lying in bed.

Getting up early gives me an inspiring start to the day. There’s no rush. I can choose when I leave the house and how I get to work. Living on the banks of the Rhine in Bonn and not too far from the Deutsche Post DHL campus where theblueballroom Germany team works, I often choose to walk what must be one of the most scenic home-to-office routes. It takes just over an hour and it is exhilarating and relaxing to boot.

It was mild this morning, with mist still lingering above the water as I reached the river path. As the sun broke through, and the light and warmth intensified, everything sprang to life. Cyclists, joggers, gardeners tending their patches, people out walking their dogs. And there were birds. There were the usual hedgerow robins and sparrows, a family of ducks and the geese that guard the lawns around the pond in the river-side park. It was there that I spotted five herons fishing and seven serene swans ‘a swimming’ – floating effortlessly, wings drawn back in that disarmingly beautiful busking pose they adopt when defending their territory and preparing for attack. The herons were poaching on their patch.

Not bad for a morning’s worth of bird-watching on the way to work. Here’s one bird that is more than content. No feathers ruffled today – everything calm and smooth.

Swan

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