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Travellers Joy



Travellers Joy - Cameos of Birdlife #3

The frost today is everywhere - a heavy hoar frost covering the fields and hedges; all a sparkle in the early morning winter sun. In the hedgerow, a restless, roving party of Long Tailed Tit weave through frosted beards 1 ...

 bumbarrel roving through the hedge travellers joy 

Just a few at first, then five, no seven; twelve now. Everywhere - all around! And then they were gone. Restless travellers full of joy.

Other birds are on the move too - a Great Tit oils it’s rusty hinge; Blue Tit ring out their joyful bells, and Nuthatch whistle from the churchyard beeches.

Spring has sprung (well almost 2).

Artist Biography

The header image is from an original acrylic painting of long tailed tit by Jeremy Paul - a Manx-based, award winning, wildlife artist, and is used here with permission.

A completely self taught artist he works in acrylics, developing his paintings in many layers of paint with extensive use of underpainting and glazes to alter the tone and atmosphere of the works. His aim as a wildlife artist is not merely to illustrate but to impart the atmosphere of the setting and the feel of wildlife in its natural environment.

You can see more of his stunning paintings here ... Gallery


The recording by Stanislas Wroza is used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-SghareAlike 4.0 license. This and many more can be found at - Xeno-Canto


  1. Another name for our only native Clematis is Old Mans Beard
  2. In the old Agricultural Calendar Spring starts on February 4th
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Colin Blundell
Colin Blundell
Reply to  Clive Bennett
January 21, 2021 5:58 pm

A whole posse of them come into our garden in spring, fly backwards for three or four days, often pecking at a particular window – then we don’t see them again till next year!

January 21, 2021 5:39 pm

Clive, such a beautiful bird the Long-tailed Tit. We’ve not seen many in the garden this year, compared to other years. I’ve not heard them called Bumbarrels in this part of the UK and don’t know if there is a local name. I like the one-line verse very much. Perfect for this time of year.

January 21, 2021 5:55 pm

Lovely writing and painting! Our birds have decided it’s spring, too, and are singing at high volume! No nests yet, but soon!

January 22, 2021 2:13 am

What a beautiful painting by Jeremy Paul. Took me to another world. Thank you for your lovely words and sharing the acrylic painting.

January 22, 2021 1:41 pm

Really enjoyed your haibun and the recording of the bumbarrel! Thanks, Clive! (I’m getting the trowel, now)

Helen White
January 22, 2021 1:45 pm

Long-tailed tits are one of my absolute joys, always an especially lovely day when I encounter them. We had quite a few gather in our garden a few weeks ago, for the first time ever! They are more normally along the river path on my walks but even that is the rarity. And what a wonderful artist!

Last edited 1 year ago by Helen White
Helen White
Reply to  Clive Bennett
January 23, 2021 6:00 pm

That’s so kind of you to say so! Am just learning the art of falrly realistic watercolour painting, following some online tutorials, hoping to work on some more bird-art in a different medium this year.

Last edited 1 year ago by Helen White
January 23, 2021 5:58 pm

[…] This late winter hokku was composed by Clive Bennett, and can be found at his blog. […]

January 26, 2021 11:36 am

Beautiful and even the strange bunbarrel word!

Reply to  Clive Bennett
January 26, 2021 11:05 pm

Just a few. That’s amazing! Where did you gather all these. It’s like the Macfarlane Lost Spells book but richer!

Reply to  Clive Bennett
January 27, 2021 7:45 am

Amazing little bird! Thanks.

Andrea Stephenson
January 28, 2021 6:02 pm

I love the way you use ‘travellers joy’ Clive because they are such joyful birds. That’s a wonderful painting too.

Andrea Stephenson
Reply to  Andrea Stephenson
January 30, 2021 9:21 pm

I ended up buying a print of the painting, it arrived today and is lovely!

February 9, 2021 11:00 am

They are planning for some meeting or get together it seems