A covert of coots

A covert of coots

A covert is a shelter or a hiding place, from which you might study coots.  It can also refer to a thicket in which game can hide.  Does this aquatic bird hide itself in thickets (or reeds), to be given this collective noun? See also my review of Arthur...
A herd of curlew

A herd of curlew

The first time I have come across ‘herd’ as a collective noun for a bird.  Curlews are large wading birds of the sandpiper family, with a long down-curved bill and brown mottled plumage.  They apparently hang out in...
Tempest-haunting birds

Tempest-haunting birds

I picture scurf-surfing cormorants and carrion birds buffeted by winds in anticipation of sailors’ corpses washing up on the wind-blasted coast. And I like the straight line of continuity connecting today’s mariners to those of Menelaus, contending with...
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...

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