Monday, 8 March 2010

Beethoven's Birds and a Changing Patch.

8th Mar. It’s that time of year when the bird species on patch are changing, and during a quiet spell today and as I was humming Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony as I walked along the wagon-way, as you do, I thought I’d better mention those three birds which feature in the symphony. I know some may be sweating over this until they find out, such is the sophistication of readers of this blog! The birds are Nightingale (flute), Quail (oboe) and Cuckoo (clarinet). There must be loads of music which has taken inspiration from birds and bird song and a favourite of mine, just to show I do have varying tastes and I’m not a complete bore, is Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. An early instrumental by them from 1969! I have the 45 in my collection. I seem to remember reading that the music has deeper meanings than simply representing an Albatross, as you would expect from anything written in the 1960s, but to me it represents the Albatross really well.

Anyway, back on patch I had a Common Buzzard soaring and gliding right over my head today. I still get excited about Buzzards, and why not. I only had my first patch Buzzard fly over last year and so far have found two in 2010. Apart from the Buzzard the early part of the walk was the usual garden birds, this time including Long Tailed Tit and the ever present Wood Pigeons. There were fresh piles of Wood Pigeon feathers in the fields!

Once I had crossed over to the second part of the wagon-way which leads to Holystone I was beginning to think that I had imagined the interest of last spring down here, as there once again seemed to be little about. Then I started to get my eye on a few birds. The Kestrel was in the hedge far away in the distance and I found the first Lapwing of the year on patch, the colours of its plumage showing wonderfully in the sunlight. It stood like a perfectly still like a sentinel for some time before calling as it took off. It was the first of four Lapwings I saw in the fields today. There was no sign of a flock which flew around the area constantly this time last year. A Robin sat silently on top of the hedge, but as soon as I got my eye on it, it flew into the hedge, but began to sing right away as if showing off its talent.

I found the odd Wren in the hedgeway and at least three male Reed Buntings, none of which I would have shown if I hadn’t spent some time standing silently by the hedge. I eventually heard quite short calls of a bird which when it darted from the hedge I realised was a Yellowhammer. It flew off a short distance before getting into full song. I’ve seen many Yellowhammers this year, but this sighting was a first on the patch and the first song time I’d heard the song this year. Another patch year first was the two Grey Partridges which called as they flew up from the foot of the hedge as I approached. They looked far from grey in the sunlight, but disappeared into the dry grass, very close by, but not to be seen again. Skylarks were singing in the more distant fields.

The hedge was certainly a key feature today, as a Grey Heron which had obviously been on the other side of it, rose into the air as I moved away. Later, possibly the same Grey Heron, was mobbed by a couple of Black Headed Gulls and a Herring Gull. There is still no sign of any birdlife near the flash. The only life to appear near it today was a young guy pushing a bicycle across the field. When he reached the point where I was I heard some groans. It seemed he couldn’t get over the barbed wire and out of the field. He told me he thought he had taken the wrong path. I wondered what path he was referring to! He got out eventually and was off on his way.
As the dark cloud came in from the North Sea the patch became two different areas, the east darkened by the cloud and the west in full sunlight. By the time I got myself home I was under cloud, but it had been good to feel the warmth of the sun today. However I don’t want to get too hot so I hope to be making for Iceland on Friday. Not so much for the birds but hopefully for a look at the Northern Lights. Mind you, I am hoping for a Gyr Falcon. My blog may go quiet for a few days.


  1. I always hum "The Birdy Song" when i'm out. Quality.

  2. Ha!:-) Nice one John. I was talking to someone in the Rising Sun the other day and wondered if it was you. Cheers.

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