This is the time of year when the morning dog walk in Sefton Park is accompanied by the loud drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker. It’s a handsome bird when you catch a glimpse of it, either clinging to a tree trunk or flying from tree to tree in a flash of black, white and red. This … Continue reading A woodpecker skirmish in the park
Starlings over the Somerset levels They were simple things, but they gave me much pleasure. A flock of starlings twittering as they settle, disperse, and settle again on a row of trees in the cemetery where I’m walking with my dog. A raucous mob of sparrows, stirring up the next street as they trade news, insults, or whatever … Continue reading Tim Dee’s ‘The Running Sky': to live is to fly
Canada geese in flight. Photo by Philippe Henry The day began, walking with the dog in the park, with a skein of geese flying overhead, a honking arrowhead of birds heading straight for the river. I don’t think there is any another sound that so lifts my spirits. By mid-afternoon, the sunlight slanting brightly in … Continue reading The call of the river
Yesterday I wrote about the connection between Donna Tartt’s new novel and the 1654 painting by Carel Fabritius, The Goldfinch. That set me thinking about why Fabritius had chosen the bird as a subject for a painting, so I thought I’d consult the book I received as a birthday present recently: Birds and People by … Continue reading The goldfinch: symbol of salvation yet thrice-cursed, ‘enjailed in pitiless wire’
In my last post I wrote of our visit to Oriel Ynys Mon on Anglesey to see the exhibition of paintings of Venice by Kyffin Williams. It was the second time I’d been to the gallery and on both occasions I was delighted to see exhibits from the collection of work by Charles Tunnicliffe held by … Continue reading Charles Tunnicliffe at Oriel Ynys Mon: ‘the love of nature absorbed him’
Four days in Naples, and of all the images imprinted on my memory from that city of teeming alleyways and cacophonous streets, one lingers ineradicable. I was waiting outside a shop in a narrow street echoing with the roar of motorcycles and the shouts of people passing. Then, above the din, I heard a bird … Continue reading The caged bird sings: of things unknown but longed for still
Yesterday the first day of spring, today blizzards in a north-east wind. Winter hasn’t let go this year: we’ve been stuck with anticyclonic conditions for three weeks, and this has sucked in cold air from Scandinavia. For a while the weather was crisp, then it turned cold, damp and murky. Today, an Atlantic weather front … Continue reading Now I know that Spring will come again. Perhaps to-morrow?