The middens (excuse my Glaswegian) are a great place to find birds. The sparrow and pigeon community where I live seem well versed with the timetable of certain residents' weekly disposals. Tits and gulls too. And of course, crows and magpies. Many middens are housed in sealed sheds, inaccesible to bird (or man) without the key; there are some, however, that are open, so to speak, to the public. Impromptu wheelie bins, like here on Ulica Brzozowa (Birch Street) at the back of the Old Town, can provide invaluable twitching time for the avid city birder. Watching a couple of crows go to work on a half-open wheelie bin can be quite a sight to say nothing of the vacuuming capacity of a platoon of pigeons or sparrows.

Taken in mid-October by my Slavic companion Berenika (the bringer of victory) Mioduszewska, this photograph shows the excellence of an agile magpie's newly coated wingtips.

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