Tuesday, 4 May 2010

It's divine to come home after a long weekend away; I let myself in the side gate and smelled the sweetness of the overhanging branc hof blossom, simlutaneously a ? begins its shrill, melodious call which sings out into the evening air. Yes, the question mark. By now I should know what it is that I have heard - but I don't. Ah, but now I hear a blackbird's warning call in the bushes, that strange evocative chuckle. I have finally identified the mystery caller of the evening 'neep'; again, the blackbird. He is without doubt now my favourite bird; so simple in design with his fluid form and bright beak. His 3 calls are all wonderful; the fluting song, neither an encore nor a melody, his trademark chuckle and now the evening 'neep' - his alarm call, apparently.

A few weeks ago around May Bank Holiday time I was up at 4am to go on a bird call walk in Pensthorpe in Norfolk. I dont know that I can identify as many as I would like but I did get a chiff chaff, robin, wren and blackbird right, and the wonderful wooden-piped coo of a cuckoo skirting sleeky overhead was a dead giveaway. Amongst all the wetland it was unsurprising to hear alot of reed and willow warblers with their strange buzz and whistle. Probably not something Iwould hear down here in Surrey.

One of my favourite calls is the cack cack of a jackdaw, but those, heard in great throngs remind me of Yorkshire more than anything else where they used to swirl en masse around the great oak tree.

This evening the garden was lush and green after the weekend rain and smelt characteristically fresh, especially when mixed with the ongoing sweet smells of spring. Entering, the kitchen was cosy and clean as ever and the living room smelled of warmed wood and old, beloved textiles, ancient glass windows and drying papers and petals.