Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Summer Birds.

What is it that makes the arrival of our Summer birds so exciting? Almost the first one we hear is the chiff-chaff but then they begin to arrive in rapid succession. As I posted yesterday, our first swallow has arrived back - and what a lot of bloggy friends left a comment to say how excited they were. Friends in America talked about their new arrivals and Poet in Residence talked of the storks coming back. Maybe we get so thrilled because they have all come so far on such amazing - and largely unexplained - journeys. Whatever it is - welcome to you all as you come back here for the Summer. Here is what the poet Edward Thomas had to say about it:-

"When we hear a bird's note for the first time in Spring, it usually happens that conditions are favourable. If rain is falling or wind roaring in tossing branches, any noise but a loud or near one may be drowned; also mere cold and cloudiness, if they do not keep us indoors, suffice to put us out of humour for expecting. Thus only naturalists are likely as a rule, to hear the "first" note in conditions which are unfavourable, that is to say, which will not further its effect. Again, if we have minds bent on other things or altogether troubled and self-centred, the chances are against hearing it. Company and conversation, the sounds of men or horses or wheels, have the same effect as rain or wind. Thus we often hear the first cuckoo in the first mild, quiet weather of Spring, with minds more or less tranquil. If I hear it so, though I cannot imagine anyone less superstitious, I have an instant feeling of luck. Ten years ago I remember hearing the cuckoo sing for the first time when I had started out for the day. The bird was slanting down towards our plum tree and cuckooing there, so that I could not help running home in the hope that I should be the first to tell the good news!
Add to that description Delius's "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring." and you have the magic of Spring in a Nutshell. Happy listening.

25 comments:

Red Clover said...

Kip and I have some kind of bird (not sure which kind- he's black with metallic blue and green, bright yellow beak and feet) building a nest in our dryer shaft. So, the bird pushes the plastic covering aside and is building a whole series of nests! Now, I hate to be cruel, but it's a fire hazard...and I don't want any little birds finding their way into our dryer. I've already taken a broom handle, and I better do it again soon before eggs are in the picture! Sigh. I do feel rather barbaric.

Leslie said...

Not many birds here yet, it is still to cold, night before last it was 24 degrees F
I am ready for more signs of Spring and summer. I do love birds chirping.
Hugs~~~Leslie

Heather said...

I suspect that we have an ulterior motive in welcoming summer birds. When they arrive it means that we shall soon be enjoying warm sunny days (hopefully) and balmy evenings sitting in the garden long after the sun has gone down.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Interesting what Edward Thomas says. I also agree with Heather's comment!

(I must look up Edward Thomas' poem Tall Nettles again - that's another one I loved in my youth!)

HelenMHunt said...

Love the new photo!

Coastcard said...

Well, I never knew that there was a Himalayan garden in the Masham area. We have just returned from Wrelton near Pickering, and had a glorious time along the east coast (seeing Winifred Holtby's grave was a first - but the Bempton puffins stole the show for me!). I may have mentioned before that I spent many happy half term holidays in Masham - & then when I was a student at Newcastle, I would pop down for a night to join the rest of the family when they were there for half term. We didn't see any stoats at Mount Grace - but we saw the same one twice at Castle Howard, with his/her bushy black tail-tip! Thank you for the Edward Thomas reminder of Spring: it will have me reaching for my copy of 'The Heart of England' ... Oh, and I have it on good authority that cuckoos have reached Syria!

Gramma Ann said...

I am looking forward to my first hummingbird of the season. I love those little guys and can't wait to see my first of the spring.

Pam said...

Birds in the beautiful English countryside are something I fondly remember from a visit to England many years ago.We went out of our way to see puffins in Scotland but missed them completely. I never did see or hear a woodpecker in the U.S. either. I would have liked that. I've enjoyed catching up with your previous posts Weaver - it is always nice to see that you've visited my site and left a comment.

Janice Thomson said...

Swans, geese, robins and flickers are what we look forward to here and all the numerous finches and hummingbirds as well. How wonderful to wake up to the birds singing in the early morning!

Crafty Green Poet said...

The bird i most look forward to seeing again in the summer is the swift, its a late arrival but its the only one we can guarantee getting here in the centre of Edinburgh, visible from our flat!

Arija said...

I experience the same thrill as all thse of you up north. Here in the antipodies it is autumn tht our birds return for oy wetter winters where their particular food source becomes more plentiful.
There is a special feeling of blessedness when our birds return.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

I think it is always a pleasure to hear birdsong. There is a huge tree near our place and suddenly you hear a bird so loudly, yet from such a tiny thing!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I know the feeling, red clover, but if a bird is building in an inappropriate place then it is better to send it off before it starts rearing a family. Do hope it soon gets the message.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Gosh Leslie it needs to warm up a bit before they all come flooding back.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I expect you are right about ulterior motives, Heather - but as regards sitting out in the garden - that is something I never do in the evening as any mosquito/midge or relative can sense I am there from a mile away.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Raph - Tall Nettles is my second favourite poem of his,after Adlestrop.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Helen, glad you like it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Caroline - The Himalayan garden was only created about eight years ago, when a couple bought a house with some very hilly land between Masham and Grewelthorpe - at The Hutts. They were advised that the land and its situation was perfect for Himalayan plants and so they have created a Himalayan Garden. It is only open to the public at rhododendron time but it is well worth a visit - it is spectacular.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Gramma ann - unfortunately we do not have humming birds - I have seen them in Canada and think they are beautiful.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comment, Pam. We have greated spotted woodpeckers in our garden at the feeder - they are a joy to watch.

The Weaver of Grass said...

The Dawn Chorus as we call it here Janice.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Juliet - I too love the swift - they are such mysterious birds. In Marrakech some years ago the noise they made as they swept over the trees was ear-piercing. They stay with us for a very short time but breed under the eaves of our house.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes I agree Arija - the autumn birds returning is just as exciting in a different way

The Weaver of Grass said...

Derrick, I think the wren wins the prize here for a loud noise from a tiny bird.

Teresa said...

We're enjoying our birds here in N.C. The goldfinches have blossomed from winter's dull olive green into the dazzling gold yellow for which they are named. Yesterday I saw a male cardinal placing a sunflower seed (from one of our feeders) into the beak of his female.. ah, love in spring!