Just how grim can it get up north? (Actually, it's quite nice.) One woman's not-so-lonely journey into the Northern heartlands.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I wish I could name the birds as they spell out their songs. A fluted, chiming symphony of half familiar notes. A trill, a chirruped melody from green and rain-drenched leaves, a brushed percussion coo half-hidden in soft and drifting air. They talk to one other as the mauve light fades. Then, washes back, gold this time. Their voices lift, remark, keep time. Birdsong marks out a mellow soundtrack to my busy life. I have to stop. Awhile. I have to pause to listen. Then, it comes again. Sweeter for the silence that went before.
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Is Mother Nature casting her spell over you at last? You sound a lot happier now that you can see the trees for the wood.
April and May are my favourite months. The clocks have gone forward, the days are longer with the promise of longer days to come, the blossom is out and the birds are singing.
My favourite birdsong is the blackbird's. Three weeks ago it was getting dark at 6.30pm. Now - it's nearer 8.30pm and with that delightful birdsong.
My husband continually mocks me for spending time reading your blog, but your 'birdsong' post was so beautiful even he had to relent.
But have you ever heard a nightingale? I haven't. It's one of the things I want to do before I die.
People say it sounds rather like a blackbird, and I thought I heard one once. A lone blackbird call, in the depths of the night. But when I talked about it to people next morning, they said it was too early. Only February, they said, and the migrating nightingale doesn't arrive till May or thereabouts..
I'm still listening and hoping. I believe it's incomparable.
New to bloggin'...I meant to comment on your recent school bullying problems 'up here' - but the moment passed......
Your new post on birds and their songs and habits interested me. As an urban dolt transplanted to North Yorks I am mesmerised and humoured by the cacophany that assaults me each morning.
It is a delight highlighted by my love for our barn swallows that have arrived and will soon start to produce their young, in close proximity to us humans fumbling around their habitat.
(Sarnia, try and catch the song thrush song)
Please don't call the guys in white coats.
Enjoy your birds and I may return re. schools.
Careful Wife, you almost seem to be appreciating the splendour of Northumberland.
See - it's not all mud and misery!
Cor blimey! You'll be writing poetry next ...
I've always adored Northumberland anyway. (In theory that is, since I've never actually visited.)
You've only got to think of all those warring Percys, for a start! One for every generation in history it seems; and they're still there! (Hope I've got the right county -they do keep changing the boundaries.)
The Border Territory though..... how romantic in a Sir Walter Scott kind of way,can that be?
You'll learn to love it, Wife! Im convinced of it.
Isn't pausing to listen much better than pausing because you can't hear each other because of the noise.
Welcome to life outside London.
diana - if by 'beautiful' your hubby means schmaltzy, saccharine crap in the 'Mary Poppins' mould, then yes, I think you're probably right..
Welcome to Northumberland, get your binoculars out, get the kids birdwatching, they'll love it and learn a little in the process.
I-beatrice, Nightingales patchy distribution in the UK away from the South, best thing to do is listen out on a visit in Europe, we had five or six singing around our Villa in Croatia last year.
(Sorry if slightly off topic.)
Being a bit of a buff on escape and evasion in WW2, I am reading a book called Dangerous Landing by Henry Ord Robertson DFM. published 1989
"Occasionally we could not refrain from snapping at each other...we were an ill assorted pair for conversation...Eddy was more of a townsman whilst I dreamt of the freedom of the Northumberland countryside and the mountains of Lakeland of which he knew little".
Rather apt little descriptive piece given the purpose of this blog.
I have swallows nesting in the garage next door to my office. They are never silent. In fact I think they spend most of their time bickering but it still sounds lovely.
Grocer: I shall listen for them when in Tuscany in August. If I can hear them above the sound of neighbouring dogs barking, that is. Or the cacophony of crickets!
Learn which birds sing which songs and teach them to your kids, even just one or two. They will remember them when they are older and think of you when they hear the birds sing.
ahh, the dawn chorus, sigh. For the true sound of the country at 5am however you have to come and hear my hungover neighbour leaning out of the window as the yawning sun fumbles for his astral clock radio on the heavenly bedside table because the sheer poetry and volume with which Mr Arkwright from number 16 tells the birds what he thinks of their joyful song after he's had a particularly good night inflating the brewery's share price puts even your lovely words in the shade my dear wifey. Dr Dolittle doesn't even come close...
When your mother found the keys I was going to comment that my mother in law had come by for me just to key out a new bird in our Hickory Grove,it had flown into my office and was perched on the spout of a watering can up high on a shelf. Well, she could barely see, yet knew that it was a Myrtle warbler. These have been so sweet to watch this spring,and Grocer is so right,your boys will love looking through binoculars, I remember we'd lay on our backs on the old trampoline passing the binoculars around looking up at birds & trees.
What a beautiful, beautiful description of English birdsong. I live in Africa, I walk in the evening, when the earth's tip filters out the harshness of heat so we're left with sunlight that's at its best, I hear the guinea fowl, but only when my two fat labradors chase them skywards and they complain loudly for they - equally as fat - battle to get to the safety of treetops.
You are writing beautifully and it is a pleasure to read. You sound so happy that I almost (only almost) want to move 'opp north' my self.
As this seems to have turned into a temporary avian forum, I need some advice! We have a wonderful mix of songbirds in our yard/garden. Having finally curbed the squirrels at the feeders with lucite baffles, we are now overrun with grackles. They are ugly, eat all the food, sound horrible -- -- Ideas, please on chasing them away, while encouraging the birds we love?
I, Beatrice - it is indeed the Percy family, only you pronounced 'Pour-cee' round here...
Sunshine - I thought a grackle was a type of noseband...
You might find some useful sound clips of bird song here.
Just noticed "schmaltzy saccharine crap" comment from anonymous (aren't these sorts of comments always from "anonymous"?). This bitter person could surely benefit from a spoonful of sugar, which I understand helps the medicine go down.
If waxing lyrical about lovely birdsong is so offensive, perhaps he/she ought to get out more.
Mutterings -- grackles over on this side of the water are large, irridescent black birds, which are harsh in every way! They make the belligerant jays seem like pussycats--
Yes, Mr or Ms "Anonymous" has struck again with his/her regular dose of bile. Funny how he/she always returns? Why not just sod off if you don't like the blog? Sad, angry soul.
I keep coming back because the blog makes me smile--whether it's WITN's humour, perceptiveness or sheer lovely writing--it brightens my day.
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