Bumbarrel, MumRuffin and Poke Pudding
At the edge of the wood early catkins - lambs tails - tremble and dance, sprinkling yellow gold-dust over the snowy branches. A small party of Long Tailed Tit tinkle through the delicate filigree of branches outlined against the winter sky. I count three, then from nowhere there were five, then seven, then twelve. It was mid-January - still Winter; yet on this rose coloured morning, the pink sun mirrored by their feathers, it was Spring.
It was Clive Bennett who got me traveling down this particular track. He's a real birder and maintains a wonderful blog - Art in Nature - where he writes of his adventures in the hedgerows and fields and where he celebrates birds and the artists who paint them.
In a comment on a post about kennings he listed some wonderful dialect and obscure bird names then quoted from a poem by John Clare about the bumbarrel - the long-tailed titmouse or bushtit.
Continue reading Bumbarrel, MumRuffin and Poke Pudding
I turned the page ... “I have amazing news for you – and indeed for every bird-lover in the country,” he whispered. “As I suspected, the birds you saw and which I have been watching for fifteen minutes are bee-eater.” The year was 1957. It was my first day at Junior school and I had picked a book from the library shelves to read ...
Continue reading Of Bee-eater (and Bittern), Egret and Avocet
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.
Continue reading Musical Interlude – Sounds of Summer
‘Peep Peep’ - a black and white bird rounds a bend in the river and alights, bobbing and winking, on a rock midstream - a Water Ousel, Colley or Dipper - typically a bird of fast tumbling mountain and moorland streams and lakes. But I knew it best on a little lowland brook - the Cam - meandering through a pastoral landscape near Bath ...
Continue reading The Dipper, Water Colley or Water Ousel
The Art of the Postcard .....
The art card is probably the most important category in antique postcards. Think of these cards as 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" original high quality prints, which they are, instead of as postcards. Artists could make extra income by selling postcard prints of their work. This booming market drew the very best artists, creating a wealth of quality material unmatched in the art world.
Continue reading The Art of the Postcard
As Summer Leaves Fall ....
The thing I notice most at the beginning of Autumn is that it is still dark when I get up in the mornings to let the dogs out. With mist over the meadows and dewy morns. Rowan berries aplenty; Blackberry too. Red hips and haws colour the hedges a rusty red. And Rosebay Willowherb their tall spikes lit by the evening sunshine, followed soon by clouds of gossamer-soft seeds, floating like fairies on the balmy wind: The end of summer.
Continue reading Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) …. Autumn
Suddenly! Some chance movement has been noticed by the nearest Lapwing, and away they go at once as if with the same wings, sweeping overhead, then to the right, then to the left, and then back again, a ‘flickering chequerboard’. Wee-ah-wee! The notes immediately repeated by another - Wee-ah-wee! Finally they settle again ...
Continue reading A Deceit of Lapwing – The Seven Whistlers
Our Northern (Winter) Thrushes - Redwing and Fieldfare
It’s Autumn: the time of year when the ‘chakking’ calls of Fieldfare in the hedgerows in the frosty early morning, preceded by the ‘seep seep’ night-time calls of migrating Redwing announce the arrival of our Winter Thrushes. They arrive anytime from late September but it’s not until the frosts of October and November that we begin to see them en-mass in the fields and hedgerows.
Continue reading Our Northern (Winter) Thrushes – Redwing and Fieldfare
Walking upstream from the bridge the stream ceases to be tidal, and turns into a lovely clear running stream with a gravel bed. A flash of yellow; a beautiful male Grey Wagtail bounds away to alight on a boulder under the bank, the reflection of its brilliant yellow plumage in the pool beneath more evident than the bird itself. Another flies to join it at the waters edge - a female - less yellow and without the black bib - their pendulum swings of the tail in ceaseless unison ...
Continue reading Variations on a Theme – Yellow, Grey, White (Pied) – Wagtail All
via Belonging and Landscape – when I first read Richard Jefferies — Moments of Place by Rebecca Welshman
Moments of Place
[…] There were grass-grown tumuli on the hills to which of old I used to walk, sit down at the foot of one of them, and think. Some warrior had been interred there in the ante-historic times. The sun of the summer morning shone on the dome of sward, and the air came softly up from the wheat below, the tips of the grasses swayed as it passed sighing faintly, it ceased, and the bees hummed by to the thyme and heathbells. I became absorbed in the glory of the day, the sunshine, the sweet air, the yellowing corn turning from its sappy green to summer’s noon of gold, the lark’s song like a waterfall in the sky. I felt at that moment that I was like the spirit of the man whose body was interred in the tumulus; I could understand and feel his existence the same as my own. He was as real to me two thousand years after interment as those I had seen in the body. The abstract personality of the dead seemed as existent as thought. As my thought could slip back the twenty centuries in a moment to the forest-days when he hurled the spear, or shot with the bow, hunting the deer, and could return again as swiftly to this moment, so his spirit could endure from then till now, and the time was nothing […]
time is nothing here
The Featured Image is of ‘The Wittenham Clumps’ by Paul Nash. He was passionately drawn to places in the landscape with ancient, mystical connections such as the Avebury stone circle and The Wittenham Clumps, and painted them many times