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Listening, thinking of nothing, simply living in the sound of the night, the world seems more alive; the dusky green of field and hedge a monochrome greyish-silver in the pale light, the telegraph poles stark black throwing spooky shadows across the fields. A Barn Owl hunting along the edge of the wood - ghostly white. A Curlew calling.
moonlight shadows crowd the spaces
In the last rays of the setting sun the hills glow golden brown. There is a loud though distant clamour of Rook and ‘Daws - musicians warming up, settling before the evening concert ...
... cue the Blackbird; followed by a Wren ... a short burst of song, shatteringly loud.
The light dims. Hush - the performance is about to begin ...
The twinkling of distant cottage lights appear one by one on the hillsides, yellow stars, fallen from the violet, not-quite-black sky. Looking up a single brilliant diamond white star appears – a shooting star - fizzes - a firework across the darkening sky.
High up, unseen, a single Golden Plover calls.
Yet it is still “not quite dark”; the sky to the west bears a faint wash of blue tinged with orange-pink. A Tawny Owl hoots in the distance; a Nightjar churrs. A crisp silhouette - the origami and choreography are perfect - singing, floating off, swooping up and back; then another and a third - an enchanted evening ...
Listening, thinking of nothing, simply living in the sound of the night, the world is more alive; telegraph poles, weave their way drunkenly down the lane, stark black, throwing spooky shadows across silver-washed fields. A Barn Owl ghosts the edge of the wood. Somewhere a Nightingale1 sings - a virtuoso performance.
A Robin sings from an elder in the hedge under the light of the street lamp. A Blackbird joins in momentarily; another Owl hoots. A Sedge Warbler bursts into song from the marsh across the way.
Dawn approaches ... creeping shadows of light. A Raven croaks; another joins in. An early morning fisherman - a Grey Heron - disturbed by the Raven flies up ungainly from the brook, with a harsh, angry, 'fraank', fraank'. A loose skein of Canada Geese fly over on their way to the estuary mudflats.
I open the door on a new day - the pale moon hangs above the old hill-fort - the Tawny Owl hoots from the woods below; a Mistle Thrush sings lustily from the Churchyard Yews - the piper at the gates of dawn; and a Robin from the garden Hazel ...
A pale cerulean-blue sky – crisscrossed with misty white vapour trails of planes – a modern art canvas; paint casually, thrown from the artists brush; white clouds tinged salmon-pink hanging over the blue-grey hills; just before sunrise – white wreaths of mist lingering over the fields mirroring the vapour trails above.
A lone Buzzard calls.
Inspired by the writings of Richard Jefferies and W H Hudson.
Mostly all my own words some of which have appeared in previous posts but pulled together as one here, except the bit about Nightjar ... which was written by Martin Smith blogging as Foxxmetamatic, in his Diary of Hut Wood - https://hutwooddiaryblog.wordpress.com/ - and used with his permission.
If you like birds and woods this is a great blog to follow ...
The featured image is of a painting by Deb Anderson - a 12"x12" oil on board painting of the Night Sky and the Seven Sisters ... She does beautiful paintings so her blog is well worth a browse - I especially like her night sky ones, landscapes and plants.
Here is a link to her post:
Many of her paintings are for sale - you may find just the one you're looking for ...
And a companion piece of music ...
Most of this post is about the birds I see and hear around home except for the Nightjar which although it breeds not too far away I have never yet got round to seeing. Thanks to Martin Smith for writing about them on his blog and allowing me to use his words.
- A bit of poetic license here as I’ve never seen or heard a Nightingale in these woods. They did occur in Flintshire in the late 1800s, early 20 Century, but we are at the very northern edge of their breeding range. I have listened to one at dawn, in a small Wood, at the edge of the Oxford canal back in the ‘80s - a beautiful moment and a treasured memory.