Bird-loving Chinese

Bird-loving Chinese

Lovely poetic sound, and I wonder what prompted Leigh Fermor to describe the Chinese in such terms as I am not aware that they love birds any more than the British or others.  But I like the notion all the same. ‘Thanks to swarms of the far-wandering junks of...
Dark-plumed name

Dark-plumed name

The name of the man Orlando will marry is ornate and rare and fully deserving to be called ‘dark-plumed’: Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, ‘Bonthrop’ for short.  Personally I prefer ‘Luiz’ but that’s another story.  Again, we...
Steel-blue plumes, gleams and feathers

Steel-blue plumes, gleams and feathers

Orlando has a love of beautiful feathers fallen from passing birds, as do I.  She seems to be particularly partial to steel-blue versions.  I like here how she picks up such a feather on a walk in the wilds, and puts it in her hat, and a moment later, due to this, or...
A table laid by ravens

A table laid by ravens

Leigh Fermor describes the unexpected hospitality and kindness encountered in the Mani after having been warned that his throat would more likely be slit. I found this description of meals appearing quite magical, as if ravens were waiting on you. I was also surprised...
Birds of war

Birds of war

The more I learn about birds, the more that ‘bird brain’ seems a misnomer.  Here they are in a war zone, imitating the whistle of bullets so accurately as to put experienced soldiers on the alert. ‘Once there was a terrible whistling right over our heads,...
Slate-colored snowbirds

Slate-colored snowbirds

Firstly, I like the idea of a ‘snow’ bird being the colour of slate.  And being obsessed with colours and the names we give them, I notice how many hues and shades can only be described in reference to something of that colour.  Elsewhere Thoreau describes...
Detonations of flight

Detonations of flight

An original way to capture the sudden soaring of a flock of birds.  A few weeks ago, a flock of a few hundred descended on the garden, half strutting about the lawn yanking elastic and reluctant worms out of the ground, the other half congregating in the apple tree,...
Sawyer-like strain

Sawyer-like strain

Having always associated ‘sawyer’ with Tom of the same name, it never occurred to me that, like many surnames, it is also a livelihood, in this case, that of sawing wood for a living.  Thoreau uses it to describe the sawing sound of the ovenbird, an...
Joy as flaring kingfisher

Joy as flaring kingfisher

A marvelous metaphor this, the piercing joy of seeing a darting kingfisher.  May you experience many such kingfisher-flaring moments. ‘That night and the night after and the night after, wherever she went, always in her own little circle of intimates, she...

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