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Birds of the Night

The Night Sky - The Seven Sisters

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. All is quiet - silver-washed tranquility.

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A Deceit of Lapwing – The Seven Whistlers

Lapwing by R B Talbot Kelly


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 ...

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Variations on a Theme – Yellow, Grey, White (Pied) – Wagtail All

Yellow Wagtail by A W Seaby


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 ...

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In a Summer Meadow

Streamside meadow by the Windrush

Lying lazy in a meadow by a stream home to sheep ‘n’ cows and wagtail yellow buttercups dance in the meadow grass so high above kestrel hover a flit of swallow ... wild rainbow cast the summer breeze ‘cross grasses mix’d an artists palette red gold ‘n’ green finches twitter ‘n’ tweeze ...

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Under the Snow – of Winter

Winter Wildfowl by Maurice Wilson in collaboration with Rowland Hilder


Carefully parting Willow, Bramble and bronzed Bracken fronds that rustled and crackled in the winter frost I could see my secret lake ... well large pond really - an old disused Flight Pond ... a few Mallard quacked and splashed noisily; a couple of Tufted Duck circled warily in the middle while on the far bank a pair of Teal rested, blending well with the pondside rushes ... a Coot called from somewhere in the reeds - well hidden - shatteringly loud ...

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Songs from the Wood – Spring

A Spring Wood Near Midhurst - by S R Badmin RWS RE AIA FSIA (1906-1989)


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 mountains; just before sunrise – white wreaths of mist lingering over the fields and valley wood mirroring the vapour trails above. A lone Buzzard calls ...

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Birds in Music

Music for a Summer Night

For many musicians and composers birdsong is the ultimate musical composition - yet is it music: Birds use variations of rhythm, relationships of musical pitch, and combinations of notes that resembles music, but without fixed musical intervals, as on a scale, there is a chaotic randomness to their singing.
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The Dipper or Water Colley – A Study in Black and White

Dipper by Carl Brenders


‘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 ...

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

The Fourth Key - A book about Bee-eater


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 ...

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In Search of Yellowhammer, Corn and Cirl Bunting

Field and Open Countryside Birds (Yellowhammer, Corn Bunting and Cirl Bunting)

One early autumn evening, I was standing out of doors when the sun came out beneath a bank of dark cloud and lit up the weathered, soft blue-grey slate roof of our old barn. No sooner had the light fallen on it than a few Yellowhammer dropped down out of nowhere and sat motionless on the sun-warmed slates, with heads drawn in and plumage bunched out. It was as if the sun had poured a golden-coloured light into their loose feathers making them shine a bright canary yellow ...
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