Santa’s Bird – Watching Christmas Trip

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Over the years, Santa spent so long zooming through the air, that he became an expert in different types of birds also flying everywhere. Some of the birds were so rare, no – one else had ever see them anywhere. Using binoculars to spot birds in the brook, Santa quickly recognised each species with the help of his amazing bird guide. He became a maestro, as he drove his way worldwide, to and fro. However, sometimes it was clear, that he did need his spectacles to get a better look, since once or twice, he confused a swan with a very ordinairy duck ! Santa marked down the names of all the birds that he had seen in a logbook … a falcon … a hawk … a robin red breast … and a rook. Christmas had always been quite a rush – especially now that Santa was trying to spot a thrush in a bush ! The year that he departed on a bird – watching trip, Santa was in a flap – no wonder, there were a thousand birds awaking him from his fireside nap !

Santa made friends with a heron along the way, after he almost crashed straight into him with his sleigh ! On the horizon, just over Greece, Santa heard a parakeet “tweet ! tweet !” (but it quickly disappeared, when Santa loudly stomped his feet !). Before long, Santa also had learnt to whistle (in fact, he frightened off some blackbirds hiding in the thistle). He wondered if the world’s hummingbirds would ever be able to learn the tune properly (or remember the words !). When he saw a raven sat on the wire of a church spire, singing, Santa asked if it would like to join in the grotto choir.

Santa thought he saw a swan, near London. He looked again and it was gone ! Santa saw a crane over Spain, a seagull over Hull and an eagle over Gleneagles. In San Fransisco Bay, Santa saw a jay. Off the Dover cost, he saw dove, prettier than most. A chaffinch over Finchley and then an osprey, down Manchester way – Santa focused on them all, as he changed the gears on his Christmas sleigh. On his way over Jarrow, Santa spotted a feathery sparrow … then another over Harrow … then another over Barrow. When the road became too narrow, Santa stopped for a picnic. As he was biting into a tasty marshmallow, he jumped up – “Wow ! There goes a swallow !”. Santa bought some bird seed and sprinkled them onto the ground, then he watched as a dozen different creatures enjoyed all the breadcrumbs that could be found around. “Ho ! Ho ! Ho !”, Santa wished everyone a Christmas that was merry, whilst handing out mince pies to the birds with a glass of berry sherry.

By evening, on the horizon, a flock of birds started to form. One bird had a worm in it’s beak – carrying a rather juicy worm ! From the North to the South Pole is quite a long way, even in a magic sleigh, so Santa passed the time seeing what wildlife he could see in the snow ! In the Arctic cold, there were penguins to behold, though they didn’t notice Santa as he gazed. Santa amazed at the flamingos in Africa – a beautiful sight in Sunset gold. Their pink feathers looked so bold. In the Amazon, Santa amazed at the parrots, talking in ten different ways ! On a riverbank, Santa thought that he saw a greenshank. He drove the sleigh left, then right, then saw an owl, which only came out at night. It’s wings glistened in the Moonlight and it’s fantastic flight was quite a sight.
Even if it was just a five – minute nap that Santa was snatching, he always kept one eye open, to watch what birds were scratching ! Santa was mad about bird – watching (but it as only a cold that eventually, he was catching !). Half way around the world, Santa sent a telegraph home, saying “Wish you were here”. Gerome the gnome agreed, as he read it, saying he’d accompany him next year ! Santa gave a very interesting account, of all the different species he’d been able to view … he even wrote home to tell Gerome the gnome about one or two bruises that left him black and blue !
Mrs. Christmas decided that for Santa a good gift would be, an encyclopaedia and a camera, so he could have a photographic souvenir of the birds that he’d seen. Before long, Santa was seen avidly snapping, sending flocks of birds off flapping ! Soon, it was reported in the Santaland gazette, that Santa had been trying to catch a glimpse of an extinct dodo – but still hadn’t managed to see one, yet !

On the next leg, in his sleigh, Santa found an egg. He kept it next to him in a soft nest, so it wouldn’t chip as he continued his trip. He only hoped it wouldn’t slip, as over the bumpy road they perhaps lost a grip. A baby bird would be even greater, so Santa kept the egg warm, by the engine radiator. Santa wondered if the egg belonged to a quail or a wagtail, but he couldn’t stop too long … to Australia he had to set sail ! He forgot all about the egg, until Rudolph the reindeer decided to take a peek for some food and perhaps a drink, as well. He was shocked when he saw a beak, poking out through the shell. Out popped a robin – though it was only small, Santa carried it carefully back to the North Pole, making sure it didn’t fall. Back in the grotto, everyone was full of Christmas delight as the robin red breast made it’s home by the firelight.

This was the best present ever – though this year’s gift crowed, flapped and took off in flight. It was hardly a surprise that the robin ate the mince pies. Three disappeared before Mrs. Christmas’s eyes that very same night !

Santa’s Bird – Watching Game

Find a map of the world. Mark on each continent and each different country a type of bird that Santa may see along his Christmas journey. What species is Santa likely to have seen and where ?

© Jacqueline Richards 2008
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