Tag Archives: birds

A Bird And A Poem ~ Magpie.

Returning to a blog post series I began twelve months ago, I’m posting a bird photo, along with a corresponding poem from this lovely book The British Museum Birds. Each poem in the anthology is matched with a gorgeous illustration from the British Museums vast collection of artworks. Today I’ve chosen a poem by W. H. Davies entitled Magpies.

In the book the poem is matched with this beautiful Chinese woodcut on paper, entitled Magpies and Plum Tree by Ding Liangxian.

Magpies

I have an orchard near my house

Where poppies spread and corn has grown ;

It is a holy place for weeds,

Where seeds stay on and flower, till blown.

Into this orchard, wild and quiet,

The magpie comes, the owl and rook:

To see one magpie is not well,

But seeing two brings all good luck.

If magpies think the same , and say,

Two humans bring good luck, not one’ –

How they must cheer us, love, together,

And tremble when I come alone!

W. H. DAVIES ( 1871 -1940).

England.

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Hello Mr Magpie!

Are you one of those crazy people ( like me) that always greets solitary magpies? I don’t think I’m a superstitious person, but I still find myself calling ‘ Hello Mr Magpie’ when I see one perched alone, cackling at me from a tree. P1000445

It is amusing to think that the magpies cackle may be a greeting to a solitary human too.

Are you superstitious about magpies?

A bird and a poem ~ Little Egret.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t resist buying a little book of poetry from a book fair that I came across. The anthology is full of beautiful poems about…..birds. And each one is paired with a gorgeous illustration. The book is actually a collection of stunning avian art works that can all be found in The British Museum. It is therefore called The British Museum Birds and if you find a copy, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂

Anyway I thought it might be a nice idea to pair the poetry in the book with my own photographs on here occasionally. Though I am cheating a bit today as these pictures of a Little Egret were taken by my other half on our walk by the river Ribble on Saturday. I think its quite unusual to see egrets inland, but this one has been spotted here in Clitheroe a few times recently.

The illustration in the book is Egret On Willow In Snow , a hanging scroll painting on silk by Oda Kaisen ( 1785-1862).

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Snow

In the gloom of whiteness,

In the great silence of snow,

A child was sighing

And bitterly saying : ‘ Oh,

They have killed a white bird up there on her nest,

The down is fluttering from her breast!’

And still it fell through that dusky brightness

On the child crying for the bird in the snow.

Edward Thomas ( 1878-1917)

Little Egret. Photo Credit D Wilson.

Sorry the first poem I included is quite sad. But I hope you liked it anyway. X

30 Days Wild ~ Days 16-21. Daisy Chains and Ladybird Nature Books.

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Day 16 ~ Listening to Birdsong. Whilst out and about this eve I made sure I listened out for the birds. I have downloaded a bird ID app on my phone to help me out identifying birdsong.Calling all Bird Nerds. 🙂 Its called Isoperla and cost £2.99 on my android phone. Its a great app actually that lets you record which birds you have spotted, helps you identify them through their appearance and a snippet of song. Looking forward to using it more! Above is a tiny wren which has a BIG voice for such a little bird. 🙂

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Day 17 ~ Read a Nature Magazine. Ok ‘the Simple things’ is not actually a nature magazine but it does tend to concentrate on simple pleasures such as beautiful home style,recipes,vintage,travel and the outside world. In the June edition there are features on Wild cocktails, wildflower meadows,summer berries,campsites with campfires,nature books,garden swings, the twilight garden and homemade lotions and potions to name but a few. I enjoyed a quick glance through with my coffee this morning.

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Day 18 ~  Make a Daisy Chain. Speaking of simple pleasures, I fashioned Hugo a daisy chain on our walk this evening. Trying to get a good picture of him however proved difficult! Plus all he wanted to do was eat the daisies. 🙂

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Day 19 ~ Buy some Faith in Nature products. I saw these in my local ‘Oxfam’ so thought I would give them a try. Faith In Nature products are made with natural ingredients and they smell wonderful. I found that they are quite watery compared to other shampoos and conditioners I have used but the end result left my hair feeling healthy and shiny.

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Day 20, 21 ~ Ladybird Nature Book.  This weekend I took my What To Look For In Summer Ladybird Nature book out and about with me. The book was published in 1960 and I have its companions, Autumn and Winter too. Still looking out for Spring.  Delightful descriptions of what wildlife and wild flowers you may spot at this time of year are accompanied by beautiful illustrations by artist C. F. Tunnicliffe. As the books are over 50 years old now, it’s interesting to see how our country lanes, meadows, woodlands and rivers have evolved over the years. And quite reassuring that some things never change!

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I was happy to see that many of the wild flowers especially, mirror those in the books. Yellow Irises, Campions,Foxgloves and Cow Parsley all adorn our countryside just like they did back in the 1960s. 🙂

Do you have any Ladybird Nature books?

Thirty days Wild ~ Days 11-15. Yorkshire Dales Wildlife.

Hi there progress is continuing on the #30dayswild challenge. Half way through now! Some days are proving more difficult than others but I had the perfect excuse to connect with nature this weekend gone as we went camping in the Yorkshire Dales. The Campsite was located right next to the River Wharfe which is a haven for all sorts of wildlife especially birds and wild flowers. This might become a rather picture heavy post!

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Day Eleven ~ Bees on Lavender. This year my lavender plant seems to have recovered all its purple glory ( it didn’t look to good last summer) and the bees are loving it. This morning I enjoyed a quick brew in the back yard accompanied by the buzzing of happy bees. 🙂

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Day Twelve ~ Do you like Butter? . This was taken on a walk from the campsite to the nearby village of Burnsall. We pitched the tent and enjoyed a stroll along the river. Buttercups seemed to adorn many a meadow so I had to check whether I still liked butter. The golden reflection on my chin proves I do. Obviously. 🙂

Day Thirteen ~ Wharfe Wildlife. Today our walk to the Bolton Abbey estate passed through meadows and woods as well as a long the banks of the river Wharfe. I saw and heard so many different birds and unfortunately I couldn’t photograph them all. Black Caps in Strid Wood were one of the highlights but I didn’t manage to capture any. 😦 Kingfishers too were very camera shy, streaking by in a gleam of turquoise. We heard a cuckoo ( the first time I have listened to one in years) and also the call of lapwings and curlews. But here is what I did photograph. I may need some identification help with a few if any of you nature buffs can help? 🙂

Cute ducklings. :)
Cute ducklings. 🙂

Bugles and Buttercups.
Bugles and Buttercups.

Female Goosander.
Female Goosander.

Wild garlic.
Wild garlic.

A bedraggled looking Dipper...I think.
A bedraggled looking Dipper…I think.

Water Avens.
Water Avens.

Rabbit.
Rabbit.

Anyone have any ideas?
Anyone have any ideas?

Ox Eye Daisies.
Ox Eye Daisies.

A type of Cranesbill maybe?
A type of Cranesbill maybe?

Greylag Geese.
Greylag Geese.

Saw two of these Mandarin ducks.
Saw two of these Mandarin ducks.

A female pheasant....I think.
A female pheasant….I think.

Pretty yellow flower on the riverside. Any ideas?
Pretty yellow flower on the riverside. Any ideas?

Pied Wagtail.
Pied Wagtail.

Mistle Thrush.
Mistle Thrush.

Scented stocks I think.Loads of bunches of these beautiful garden escapes along the river.
Scented stocks I think.Loads of bunches of these beautiful garden escapes along the river.

Oystercatcher.
Oystercatcher.

Mallard in a tree?
Mallard in a tree?

A few of these birds and flowers I could not identify even with the help of my Collins Gem guide books so any help would be appreciated.

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Day Fourteen ~ Hug a tree. A-hem so here I am hugging a tree. I’m not sure if it was the most affectionate big old hug but I guess It made me feel giddily cheerful. 😛

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Day Fifteen ~Smell the Roses.. The Wild roses in the hedgerows smell gorgeous. I made sure I inhaled their sweet scent on my walk on day 15. What is your favourite wild flower scent?

Park Life ~ May.

May in the Castle Grounds and everything is so much leafier. Summer is definitely   round the corner.  The Squirrel population seems to be taking over though. If you ever want to take a piccie of a squirrel come to the park at Clitheroe Castle. 🙂

Squirrel Nutkin.
Squirrel Nutkin.

Horsechestnut blossom.
Horsechestnut blossom.

Columbines.
Columbines.

The early bird caught the worm.
The early bird caught the worm.

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Not sure what this is but its very pretty. 🙂

And ditto!
And ditto!

This is my tree!
This is my tree!

Magnolia.
Magnolia.

Bluetit finds a suitable perch.
Bluetit finds a suitable perch.

Poppy.
Poppy.

Castle museum peeking through the Cow Parsley.
Castle museum peeking through the Cow Parsley.

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Great tit.

Something fishy.
Something fishy.

Parks resident squirrel catcher.
Parks resident squirrel catcher.

Let me show you my tree!
Let me show you my tree!

Collared dove.
Collared dove.

Life in the Park is vibrant and colourful right now. Take a walk round yours and see what wildlife lives there. 🙂

London Trip.

I very recently returned from a fab trip to london with my friend B. Lots to blog about but I thought I would start with a picture post of what we got up to, and I’ll go into more detail later.

As you can see from the above photo I’m posing ( terribly) with one of the many Shaun the Sheep who are gracing the capital until the 31st of May. Artists, celebs and designers have created the sculptures which will be auctioned off for various charities at the end of the year. If you miss the London lambies don’t worry , a further flock can be spotted in Bristol from the 6th July. Check out this Shaun in the city link. 🙂

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My friend’s  brother lives in Fulham and he was kind enough to let us stop with him. We got to wake up to this great view of the Thames every morning. I spied lots of different water fowl ( I wish I had brought the better camera) as it turned out the London Wetland Centre was just over the river.

Savage Beauty at the V&A (image off Pinterest).
Savage Beauty at the V&A (image off Pinterest).

Speaking of birds, I never realised that the late ‘Alexander McQueen’ was interested in ornatholigy. I learn’t this at the stunning Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A. A spectacular theatrical homage to the talented fashion designer, this is a must see….even if your not interested in fashion. An immersion of the senses, a feast for the eyes, I cannot describe how fantastic the exhibition is. McQueens designs took inspiration from nature, from the tortured history of his native Scotland, from Victorian Jack the Ripper England, from the lost city of Atlanta & more. His collections are put on show to the most astounding effect. Highlights for me included the room entitled ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ and a ghostly floaty hologram of Kate Moss.

Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Pot.
Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea Pot.

Of course no trip to London would be complete without an afternoon Tea or two. Yep B and I just had to sample two. And I’m sure I will be blogging about them in the next few weeks. There was an elegant and very English afternoon tea at the Bentley Hotel in Knightsbridge and a curiously quirky ‘Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea’ at the Sanderson Hotel near Soho. They were both fun in different ways. 🙂

Afternoon Tea at the Bentley.
Afternoon Tea at the Bentley.

Big Ben in the London rain.
Big Ben in the London rain.

On the London Eye in the rain.
On the London Eye in the rain.

The British weather had to rain on our parade at some point and of course it chose Thursday to absolutely puddle it down because we had booked a ride on a giant ferris wheel. The London Eye is a great way of seeing the city’s famous landmarks….even on a rainy day. My pics are pretty terrible though and my not very waterproof pumps meant I felt like I had been roaming around on wet sponges all afternoon. I looked like a cross between a not very happy bunny and a drowned rat…

Food Hall in Harrods.
Food Hall in Harrods.

One of the places you can hang out when its raining is of course the iconic department store Harrods and we spent a lot of time here. Its easy to get lost in! Since I last visited five years ago a Chocolate cafe and an Ice cream parlour have opened inside. I shall put them on my bucket list for the next time I visit! There are also lots of free museums. We made sure to visit the Natural History museum to see the famous giant diplodocus in the beautiful entrance hall. Apparently its going to be dismantled next year so now is the time to pay your respects to this particular dinosaur.

Dippy at the Natural History Museum.
Dippy at the Natural History Museum.

Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium at Bethnal Green.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium at Bethnal Green.

B and I being crazy cat ladies, just had to visit London’s only cat cafe Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium near Brick Lane. Its a cute little cafe which is also home to 12 gorgeous cats. I shall certainly blog about our time here in more detail soon. Let me just say we spent a purrfect couple of hours enjoying the company of Carbonelle, Wookie & co. And the food wasn’t bad either. ~^^~

There's a cat face in my brew.
There’s a cat face in my brew.

And I will end this post with a couple of pics of some surprising ( to me !) visitors to a park B and I were relaxing in one afternoon. I nearly jumped out of my skin when four bright green parakeets flew above us. For Londoners though this is simply an everyday occurrence. 😉

Hello there!
Hello there!

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Catch you soon. X