If we accept that the Swedish word ‘mes’ is the same as ‘tit’ in English, then my bird-watching visitors have just seen a bottom-tit. If we are to translate literally across the two languages. (This is as low as I will sink in today’s post.) Mes in Swedish means coward or wimp, so also has some unwanted baggage if people want to laugh. Though not as much as those tits.
(We used to have place mats with bird pictures on them. One dinner when we were comparing notes on what bird we’d each ended up with, someone went very silent, so I worked out he’d got the tit. Bluetit, I believe.)
All this childishness has a purpose, you know. My visitors naturally came equipped with their own bird guide, but the Resident IT Consultant got out our bigger and fancier bird book for them. Me, I’d forgotten that we even have it, but that’s because I bought it for reference, and not for actual use.
It’s the Collins Bird Guide by Killian Mullarney, Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström and Peter J Grant. You will detect two Swedish names there. I understand Swedes are big in the bird guide world. This tome has been pored over nightly to check what birds have been seen. We may live in a large city, but we still have lots of birds to show off with. Not least the bottom-tit, which sounds vaguely dubious even in Swedish.
They have been able to determine what the pigeons I want to put in the pie are called. It’s not that I want to eat pigeon pie, but the blasted creatures eat all my soft fruit, so I want to discourage them a little.
The heron next door has been admired, as it flew off with the frogs legs dangling. (I know. It’s disgusting.) The local park had some rare bird or other. Even the centre of Manchester had interesting birds to see.
So. We’re a success. Birdwise.