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Musical Interlude – Sounds of Summer

Songs of Wild Birds

How better to start this post than with a quote from the writings of Richard Jefferies:

The fervour of the sunbeams descending in a tidal flood rings on the strung harp of earth. It is this exquisite undertone, heard and yet unheard, which brings the mind into sweet accordance with the wonderful instrument of nature.—’ The Life of the Fields’: The Pageant of Summer.

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Of Bee-eater (and Bittern), Egret and Avocet

European Bee-eater from the Crossley ID Guide Britain and Ireland

I have never seen a Bee-eater ….

but it was this bird or at least a story about it that inspired me, enthused me, and changed my life. Prompted also by moving from country village to town, from being a country lad to city dweller. The year was 1957. From then on I became a watcher of the countryside – its people, birds, and animals.

I don’t remember the title or the author of the book and have been unable to find it again but I think it must have been based on the discovery of Bee-eater nesting in Streat Sand Quarry, in 1955, and the RSPBs efforts to protect them – the first time I believe a nest protection scheme had been attempted.

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Spring is in the Air

Spring in the Dales

What better introduction to Spring than this quotation from the writings of Richard Jefferies.

“The bird upon the tree utters the meaning of the wind—a voice of the grass and wild-flower, words of the green leaf; they speak through that slender tone. Sweet­ness of dew and rifts of sunshine, the dark hawthorn touched with breadths of open bud, the odour of the air, the colour of the daffodil—all that is de­licious and beloved of springtime are expressed in his song. Genius is nature and his lay, like the sap in the bough from which he sings, rises without thought”. —’ Field and Hedgerow’: Hours of Spring. Richard Jefferies

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Summer came softly


Summer for me …

starts with the first of the Spring and Summer migrants – Swallow, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, although the very early ones of the latter may have overwintered. Soon followed by Swift, which for almost as long as I have been in North Wales – 25 years now – have turned up on May 12th.

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