I cast in as dawn broke, to much birdsong. I am not the best of people to identify bird species by their songs, and that is possibly as a result of being tone deaf and never singing myself. When I was eleven, on my first morning at grammar school, I stood immediately behind the music teacher, who played the pipe organ right in front of the row of new boys. After the first hymn, he turned around "You boy! Name?"
I told him.
"YOU, boy, are banned from singing for the rest of your life. I consider it my duty as a musician, to protect the rest of mankind from your intolerable caterwauling."
I have never burst into song since. I quote him, word for word, and to be honest he was right, Even if I try to sing to myself, inside my head, silently, I know the notes are wrong. I didn't pass GCE music. Wasn't even entered for it. Ah well, I just hope the rest of you are duly grateful for what you have been spared.
|A Songthrush: Listening for Worms.|
A crèche of Canada goslings drifted across the lake, and came on land quite near to me to eat the fresh grass in the field. There were 23 young, along with four parents. I don't know why, but most of the Canada geese on a lake do not seem to breed, but often those that do guard their offspring collectively. I have seen three such crèches this year, each attended by four adults.
Swallows swifts and house martins flew constantly above the lake. The swifts, so aptly named, flew rapidly, higher up than the other birds, their uniformly dark brown colouration and thin swept back wings clearly identifying them. The swallows, with their thin v tail flew mainly near the water surface. A speed, and with many twists and turns, they never let a wingtip touch the surface, despite being constantly as low as an inch or two. The house martins, with that conspicuous white rump, flew at an intermediate height, below the swifts, yet above the swallows. No sand martins, the smallest of the quartet. They will be over the river, near their nest holes, and enjoying themselves in exuberant flight, more than any other bird species I have seen. I watched some flies hatch, emerging from the water surface, and venturing tentatively into the air. Most were caught by the swallows, who slowed down only slightly as they take the insects in mid flight. Occasionally they would drink from the surface, but also, something I have not noticed before, they often took insects directly off the surface of the water.
|Great Crested Grebe Sharing the Fishing: One for Him, None for Me.|
Heard a cuckoo as well on the day, somewhere the far side of the lake from my position. Of course that could mean it being a long way away, as the call seems to carry very well indeed. Odd how the two notes, repeated incessantly as they are, remain enigmatic, and of interest, whereas the five notes of the woodpigeon get on the nerves after a very few minutes. I did think about going to look for the bird after I finished fishing, but forgot all about it...and it was raining, so I hurried the wet gear into my car and drove home.