1 EAGLETON NOTES: To Youth in the Bird World

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Friday, 5 July 2013

To Youth in the Bird World

Many of you will know at least the start of Shelley's To a Skylark and Keats' Ode to a Nightingale the commencements of which are, respectively,
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
and
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Keats is a poet whose work I generally enjoy greatly and that particular poem is one I used to know almost by heart.

Anyway today I was searching my Penguin Book of Bird Poetry for a suitable poem based upon young birds as an introduction to the photos I wanted to show you.  I could find none.  In fact I spent a good hour half watching the superb Djokovich v Del Potro Semi-Final and half reading bird poetry.  At this point I can see Adrian thinking up a suitably acerbic comment with which to adorn this post.

In fact although there are at least some poems on most common birds, on the whole bird poetry seems to be dominated by just a few birds: doves, larks, nightingales, robins and thrushes.  Somehow the fulmar and the wheatear seem to have been given a complete miss.

Young fulmars on the cliffs at West Wemyss
Parents doing the 'food run' for a young greenfinch.
I was asked if the birds ever used the nesting box on the garage wall.  I replied in the negative.
However a few days later all the young sparrows decided to use it as a resting place.
This young robin actually landed at my feet at the Maybury Garden Centre.
Even its parents seemed unconcerned by its association with me.
"Do you like this pose?"
This young wheatear has been flitting around the garden for a week or so gradually metamorphosing from a fledgling to a young adult
Okay a fairly fluffy young adult

16 comments:

  1. Amazing photos! Quite beautiful.

    This post puts men mind of:

    "Cuckoo, shall I call thee bird,
    Or but a wandering voice?
    State the alternative preferred,
    Give reasons for your choice."

    Oh well. Choir practice calls...

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    1. (Should be "me in" of course...)

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    2. I should have included cuckoos in the list Frances. There are a fair number of cuckoo poems.

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  2. Great shots... the finch and Robbin are even better than that. I would have needed a rest between the robin shots....I bet I'd have slipped over and missed all but the first one.
    You deserve £25K for spelling the nancy boys names.

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    1. PS. Just back from the pub and have seen the young Murray do good. He only had to stop playing with his balls whilst being handed a towel, a quick sit down for a rest and a drink, there he was, back bouncing his balls again, I saw him hit them now and again.
      Some folk say MotoGP is tedious but at least they don't pull in every lap for a drink and a wipe down.
      I did learn something though. The lines are just there for guidance. Like kerbs on a race track, you don't have to keep within them.....Near enough is good enough!

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    2. I'd hoped that I got the spellings correct Adrian. Not holding images in my head includes images of words so it was a bit hit and miss. The robin was so close that the first time i saw hime (before I got my camera ready) he almost flew into me. I can't se that anyone could justify saying MotoGP was boring or tedious whatever else they may think. People at the top of whatever sport have to be superb athletes whether they are playing with balls (except possibly soccer players who just have to have Really Beautiful Wives) or being maniacs on motor bikes.

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  3. Had to look up the Swedish names for fulmar and wheatear. I don't think the latter has much chance of getting into a poem in Swedish either, but the fulmar might have - our name for it is stormfågel = storm bird. And in the past it has also been called havshäst = sea horse! Anyway, the young robin and the young wheatear in your photos are both adorable :)

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    1. I can understand, Monica, why a fulmar might be called a storm bird. They are of the same family (tubernose) as the albatross. I like them.

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  4. I have never seen a photo of a baby robin before, not an English one anyway! Thank you for that! All these photos are good but the greenfinch in flight, I would be well pleased to get a shot like that.

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    1. As with most photos of birds in flight Kay there's a fairly large element of luck involved. I was quite pleased though I have to admit. Thanks.

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  5. The one with the greenfinches is fantastic! And like Kay, I have never seen a baby robin before.
    You know about the cherry tree in front of my kitchen window. One Sunday morning years ago, my husband and I were having breakfast at the table next to the window, and there was a baby blackbird having its mother deliver breakfast, too. I'd not watched a baby bird being fed by its parents before other than on telly, and it was a moment I won't forget.

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    1. Because, Meike, I have birds nesting under my roof seeing the parents feed them is quite a common sight for me but it's no less magical.

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  6. Maybe you can pen your own poems to go along with these lovely photos.

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    1. Whatever skills I may have , Virginia, writing poetry is not amongst them.

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  7. Gorgeous series of bird shots, GB!! I do love the English Robins!

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    1. Thanks Liz. They are friendly little creatures when it comes to humans.

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