For a start there's the Magpie that's clearly a black and white jobbie, though look closely in the right light and there are all kinds of azure and emerald tints in those black feathers. There has been an increase in the number of magpies seen around houses recently and I suspect it may be because of less road kill being available to them since there's been less traffic on our roads.
Magpies have never been among our favourite birds and folklore suggests this is because they refused to go into mourning when Christ was crucified, which seems a little unfair as it's certainly not the only bird that's not black. Even today people seem keen to blame Magpies for crimes such as the decrease in the numbers of songbirds, saying that they kill the young in the nest. While it's true that they do take some young birds, they are less harmful than domestic cats and there are many other birds which feed on eggs and hatchlings of other species; woodpeckers will even hack their way into your birdbox if they get the chance.
There are also old tales of members of the crow family holding "courts" to punish the misdemeanors of their fellows. Apparently they all gather in a circle around the accused bird and debate the matter, whereupon if found guilty the unfortunate individual is attacked and may be killed. It doesn't sound very likely, does it; but such stories turn up in many cultures across the world. And just once, when I was a teenager, I chanced upon about a dozen Magpies on a meadow, arranged in a perfect circle and spaced out as evenly as the numerals on a clock-face. I didn't see exactly what was going on as they spotted me as I spotted them, they hesitated for a few seconds then judge, jury and the accused flew off together.
If the Magpie's not colourful enough for you then the Jay must surely be. They are not easy to see as they live in woodland or large gardens and have a habit of flying off as soon as they're seen. This one regularly visits the grain that my neighbour puts out for Pheasants and can be viewed from my porch window.
Like all crows, Jays are intelligent birds and later in the year they gather acorns and hide them away to act as a larder to last them through the winter. The number of acorns they hide is huge and they seem to remember where they've hidden them, though some are obviously forgotten - or maybe surplus to requirements.
There's an old country saying that the thorn is the mother of the oak, which is usually used to illustrate that great things or great people can come from humble origins. And as I used to wander in the hills of Wales it was not unusual to see an oak sapling sprouting up through a low sprawling hawthorn, which had successfully protected it from the browsing of sheep. The "forester" responsible for planting these oaks must often have been Jays hiding acorns.
Some years ago I visited Ely Folk Festival and told you about The Hut People who consist of an amazing accordion player and even more amazing percussionist who even played the musical pigs. You thought I was kidding...
and on that cultural high-point I'll bid you farewell.