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
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
The Magic of Birdsong: A fine fresh morning - the sun streaming through the bedroom window - slightly open, the red and white gingham curtains moving gently in the morning air - dust motes caught for a moment - faerie dust, shining like tiny golden stars; the incessant chatter of House Sparrow and the garbled chuckling, whistling and mimicry of Starling from the cottage eaves and chimney pots; Green Woodpecker laughing from the nearby Ash; And Cuckoo calling from the copse across the fields - a Messian symphony. The scent of early spring - apple blossom and garden flowers in the warming sun. A heady romance. A childhood memory as real now as it was then - For this moment at least I am transported - there in the trees and fields around - what is that if not magic ... the magic of birdsong.
Continue reading The Magic of Birdsong
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 ...
Continue reading In a Summer Meadow
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 ...
Continue reading Under the Snow – of Winter
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 ...
Continue reading In Search of Yellowhammer, Corn and Cirl Bunting