This is all, folks!It was just one magpie to start with. When you’re used to mice running around (in your living room, that is) a magpie is a festival of beauty. In black and white, of course. It would sit in the majestic, wide-crowned have-yet-to-identify tree in the front yard, wobbling front and back but regaining balance thanks to the long black tail. Everything has a purpose, I do believe that.

We left the mouse manor behind on the last day of December and settled in yet another house on the hill, mouse-free (so far) and bright as can be. Plumbing woes were also left behind as our new home has a brand new bathroom, which to no toilet/laundry/shower hardcore dwellers like us is a well-deserved relief. Not an ounce of bitterness, but gratitude still, after the long month of all the above mentioned deprivations. A game changer as they say.

My desk is still by a large window; no view of the winding steel colour water or of the ‘moving dots’ on the occasionally sun-drenched north shore – that is how we referred to the dogs we would spot from our previous house. The imagery was fascinating and even more so, the reality of not being able to spot more than a dot, in case of the smaller dogs. Size humour can brighten one’s day, regardless of circumstances; it sure brightened mine during the days of mice galore and bubbling toilets.

Nowadays it is the magpie that catches my eyes. A second one came by two days ago and today I counted six. The tree is becoming popular. I also noticed a blue jay and a bird I could not name until I did what every able body who owns a computer does. Yep, Google. It was a northern flicker, a type of woodpecker. A lover of wildlife I am, but birdwatching has never caught my interest to this degree. A wide window and a few curious magpies, plus their sudden interest in a particular patch of snow in the front yard can do that.

So a new chapter begins. New house, brightness, views of snow-enveloped Kenna Cartwright hills and the mountains stretching far into the north, birds with beady eyes and curious behaviour, the next door grandpa walking his pug and waving as he notices me at my desk, a new road is contouring as I write this.

If you add some good sledding in the front yard, a newly built igloo in the back and a return to our evening walks with the boys, plus a good supply of new birds to look at (a small ‘what-could-it-be?’ just landed in the tree) we are about to get busy.

The magpie is back, smug as can be in the big tree as a whole bunch of unidentified small birds crowd the top of a much smaller tree across the street. Inequality reigns supreme in nature.

Today might be the day when I’ll coax the boys into creating some bird feeders for the many feathered guests, and even a bird house or two down the road. That might just erase the somewhat bad memory of the two bird houses we built a while ago that served no bird, but instead became wasp nests. Yes, we do seem to have a thing for pests. Or rather they do for us. No one said nature’s ways are easy to understand; they are sure fascinating though.