Tag Archives: daffodils

A tale of two birds – or rather three.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/Stonechat_%28Saxicola_rubicola%29_male%2C_Beaulieu%2C_Hampshire.jpg/640px-Stonechat_%28Saxicola_rubicola%29_male%2C_Beaulieu%2C_Hampshire.jpg

The scattering of white feathers showed where a black-headed gull had been killed; the corpse lay a couple of feet away, the breast picked almost clean by the second bird, the sparrowhawk who has become quite familiar in this part of town. Satisfied with its meal, it had flown away already.

The third bird was totally unconcerned by this drama, and a real surprise on Abbot’s Hill. Sitting on a stump nearby: a smart, robin-like creature which was indeed a stonechat. I don’t recall seeing one locally before but he was singing as if he owned the place and had no intention of going west to the old brown hills. I feel sure he will though.

It’s a warm wind, the west wind, full of birds’ cries;
I never hear the west wind but tears are in my eyes.
For it comes from the west lands, the old brown hills.
And April’s in the west wind, and daffodils.

The West Wind, John Masefield.

stonechat

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the elusive pimpernel

Careering down a path where perhaps I  should not have been cycling, I enjoyed a Wordsworth moment. No golden daffodils, no lake, no trees to speak of, just the end of a hornbeam hedge up against a hideous galvanised steel fence. But miles from any field, between the concrete path and the base of the fence, there spread a single plant of the scarlet pimpernel, turning to face the southing sun.

Not so long ago, maybe forty years, this path was a field path, this land was part of a farm. The soil was disturbed when the new fence was put in, no doubt to protect the school children from whatever dangers might lurk on the path. Even an earthbound constellation of red dwarfs.