Tuesday, 9 June 2009

wrens and balloons

(this picture may seem familiar if you look at the previous post)

Here's an excerpt from Geraldine Taylor's The Coffee Thrush, the pictures for which I am doing at the mo

I witnessed a David and Goliath demonstration of bird alarm in Leigh Woods.

A hot air balloon was descending, its basket brushing the treetops. Dozens of birds united against the giant intruder, their oaths and war cries audible above the hiss of the balloon burner. Suddenly the balloon found the lift to clear the trees and continue its journey. The birds went quietly about the business of the woods: job done.


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  2. Yes... ! They'd have had young in their nests.

    I've seen a whole hedge full of songbirds attack a squirrel and drive it away. It was in total panic.

    It's wonderful to watch REAL nature...


  3. it is... I've seen the local blackbirds, collared doves and magpies unite to chase away a crow from a neighbouring garden. And a rag tag and bobtail of loads of little songbirds chasing a kestrel across a valley. And my favourite memory was of a tawny owl being harried through a welsh wood when I was walking Offa's Dyke. Retracing my steps with Richard two years ago and twenty years after this encounter, ...exactly the same thing happened. I wonder how many generations of tawny owls had passed since then?

  4. Bird Power! We watched a cat that had been cornered by magpies the other afternoon.

    There's a lot behind those sweet songs.

    I haven't listened to the radio interview yet - the computer seems very pedantic at the moment, I don't want to upset the applecart.

  5. Looking forward to The Coffee Thrush, Dru---tho' I'll have to shop around for it over here. What's the black bird in the picture?

    Saw a grackle and a Baltimore oriole harrying a crow in my garden the other day. Orioles are always striking, but this was a fanning blaze of orange and black diving and rocketing between treelimbs and just above the crow's stoic head, until the big bird got the message and flapped away.

    Today, a few yards nearer the woods, a bushy red fox sauntered and sniffed, looking singularly unharried.

  6. It would be a foolish cat to argue with a group of magpies, Anji. The fox was certainly rather taken aback...

    The black bird is a blackbird, Larry. One of the thrush family, and very melodious. I just had to look up grackle; it looks very onomatopaeic. There was a giant space grackle in a Wonder Warthog comic strip once, but I didn't realise that there was a real bird called the grackle. So you've got red foxes imported from here, and native greys; while we have grey squirrels imported from there, and native reds. Though not for much longer, I fear.

  7. Ah, blackbird. It is indeed melodious, but heard over here mostly thanks to the blessed lads from Liverpool. I might have guessed, but we have so many different blackbirds about, including the melodically-challenged common grackle, of which a now-deceased housemate of mine wrote:
    "When all is done and sirred,
    the grackle is a noble bird."

    By the way, thanks for leading me (via Tim Kendall's blog) to the great J E Brookes poem, Thermopylae '41.