Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The song of the Curlew.

In yoof-speak it was sooooo not a beautiful morning.

Not raining, but cool and decidedly overcast. Was I 'bovvered'? Yes, I think perhaps I was. I'm finding this spring, which shows no signs of being truly springlike, hard going. It's been a long haul since October and there's a way to go yet. There have been milestones; the snowdrops were welcome and the daffodils and primroses more welcome still. I've greeted each burgeoning green bud with enthusiasm - but the land is still so cold and wet. My boots bring in clods of sticky clay......

Sorry, I digress. Now where was I?

Ah yes, early one morning, under a cloudy sky, clad in boots and jacket trudging up the field to let the hens out. I've a feed bucket in one hand and an eye open for Chester - The Dog Who Cannot Be Trusted as he follows fresh morning scents in the dingle.

A sound stops me in my tracks - unmistakable and plaintive - a sound that is the very essence of spring, a sound so magical and musical and a sound so loud it might be coming from only a few paces away. I do not need to strain to listen - it fills the air, surrounds me - coming at once from here and then seemingly from over there. Loud liquid notes rise and warble - and there is a response too but it's not an echo from the wall of trees on the hill. There are a pair of birds.

How do I describe in words the cry of the curlew - a clear watery trill that fills the air? A burbling, bubbling glissando of notes? What an inadequte description that seems to be.

I cannot see them although I know they must be close, perhaps they are on the wing. Indeed they are - I now see them silhouetted against the sky, wheeling and spinning over the conifers of Badnage Wood. Spinning and swooping, unmistakably curlews singing love songs in the bright morning air.

Wonderful.

13 comments:

Twiglet said...

Oo lucky you - it really is a wonderful call isn't it. I don't think there are as many as there used to be so I too get a bit excited when I see/hear one.

Wipso said...

Another really lovely blog. Yes, I have to agree with you, what an exciting sound. I'm sure many folk wouln't have noticed it.
A x

Exmoorjane said...

I'm with you, it seems to be a grudging spring somehow. But, oh th sound of a curlew.. you do write very beautifully. jx

rachel said...

City dweller green with envy here......

elizabethm said...

I would love to hear a curlew. We have had mewling buzzards today and the glorious sight of a returning swallow but I haven't heard a curlew for years. Beautiful blog.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

rarely hear them over here, prevailing wind gets in the way perhaps? Today started off dire but it finished up in a golden glow

Grouse said...

At Mistlehall, the Curlew came just a month before the Cuckoo. Their call would echo down from the moor and almost bring time to a standstill.....the most evocotive sound that takes me right back there.

~Kim~ said...

I looked up on the internet what the song of a curlew sounds like and what a beautiful sound to have and a sign of spring that you needed--I know the rest will come!!

Friko said...

what with elizabeth's swallow and your pair of curlews, surely it MUST be Spring?
I haven't yet heard the curlews over the meadows between the streams; I shall be listening for them now, although, like you say, it is impossible to miss
their song. I always find it a touch melancholy too.

bayou said...

Never seen or heard one, how exciting! But I saw the first swallow when we headed to the M6 and back to Dover! And having come home, here they are as well.

Pondside said...

I will have to check this out on the web, never having heard a curlew. Now I'm curious!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

How lovely ! We get lapwings and , when it's warmer (?) will go up to the sea dyke where there are many more lovely birds to see . Rachel Carson was right and we must cherish what we have , while we have them .

MBNAD woman said...

Just found your smashing blog. Will be reading it for catch up all weekend ;-)

Pob hwyl.

Mad x