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Murder, Mischief and Murmurations

Raven by A W Seaby

I paused for a moment to look out over the marshy fields - a dull flat grey-green in the late autumn evening; almost night. The sun had set and white trails of mist followed the course of the river. A few Magpie were chakking noisily in some willow scrub. Starkly black and white. I counted - one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four a boy - a few more flew in - eight for a wish, nine for a kiss ... and then more - twenty, thirty, forty - from all directions. One hundred, two hundred, I lost count; now too dark to see ...

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Signs of Spring

SIGNS OF SPRING
Rebecca Welshman

Jefferies’ field notebooks are full of references to the passing seasons. Each year he carefully noted the first signs of spring and summer and found happiness in the visible tokens of the seasons as they returned.  As he wrote in The Open Air “I knew the very dates of them all—the reddening elm, the arum, the hawthorn leaf, the celandine, the may; the yellow iris of the waters, the heath of the hillside. The time of the nightingale—the place to hear the first note.”

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The Dipper, Colley or Water Ousel

Dipper


‘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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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 Magic of Birdsong

Magic: Mistle Thrush

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 Messiaen 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.

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