There’s a spot of birding to report, a few pictures from the garden, then news of a newly published paperback book.
On my way to Pilling after lunch I saw three pairs of Kestrels, a species very active at the moment and which looks to have survived the mild winter well. An hour at Pilling saw 3 Siskin and 4 Lesser Redpoll heading east into the wind, also a few extra Meadow Pipits, with 15 + at Pilling Water, together with 3 Wheatears. Out on the marsh I could see the 5 Barnacle Geese which spent last week on Hi-Fly’s stubble field. The Greenshank and Green Sandpiper still grace the pools if you know where to look and how to approach the water so as not to scare them both into the inner, hidden pools.
Back home in the garden a pair of Long-tailed Tits are building a nest in a berberis bush, and the Blackbirds are also busy constructing a nest somewhere.
Princeton University Press sent me a copy of “Birdscapes- Birds in Our Imagination and Experience”, a book previously published as a hardback and now for the first time published in paperback. Below is the blurb for the book, £13.95 in the UK or $19.95 in the US from Princeton University Press
“What draws us to the beauty of a peacock, the flight of an eagle, or the song of a nightingale? Why are birds so significant in our lives and our sense of the world? And what do our ways of thinking about and experiencing birds tell us about ourselves? Birdscapes is a unique meditation on the variety of human responses to birds, from antiquity to today, and from casual observers to the globe-trotting "twitchers" who sometimes risk life, limb, and marriages simply to add new species to their "life lists."
Drawing extensively on literature, history, philosophy, and science, Jeremy Mynott puts his own experiences as a birdwatcher in a rich cultural context. His sources range from the familiar--Thoreau, Keats, Darwin, and Audubon--to the unexpected--Benjamin Franklin, Giacomo Puccini, Oscar Wilde, and Monty Python. Just as unusual are the extensive illustrations, which explore our perceptions and representations of birds through images such as national emblems, women's hats, professional sports logos, and a Christmas biscuit tin, as well as classics of bird art. Each chapter takes up a new theme--from rarity, beauty, and sound to conservation, naming, and symbolism--and is set in a new place, as Mynott travels from his "home patch" in Suffolk, England, to his "away patch" in New York City's Central Park, as well as to Russia, Australia, and Greece.”
I studied the contents page, read extracts from reviews on the back cover and then read an early section entitled Witnesses and Prophets which lumps together the reactions to birds from a very diverse bunch of birders - amongst them the likes of Keats, Richard Millington, D.I.M Wallace, Gilbert White and Ernst Mayr - Oh Wow, now there's a mixed bunch to meet in a hide one day!
I missed this book first time around but really must read it soon, so I filed it next to my bed as the next read. At 300 pages of solid reading it will take a week or so but I will let Another Bird Blog readers know all about the rest of the book.