Thursday, March 22, 2012


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.

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit


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

Birdscapes- Birds in Our Imagination and Experience

“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.


Mary Howell Cromer said...

I am thrilled that you will have the Long-tailed Tits nesting in your yard, for they just are such delightful, charming, sweet faced birds and I shall look forward to viewing any follow-up images that you will I hope be sharing. The Kestrel in flight is wonderful and the seems like it would be a very interesting read Phil~

eileeninmd said...

Phil, cool capture of the kestrel. And it is wonderful to see the Long Tailed Tits nesting in your yard. I would be thrilled. They are pretty birds.
Nice post on your day! I hope you have a great weekend and happy birding.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Seems a really interesting book! Lately I've been paying more attention to the environment, habitat, historical and cultural background of the birds that I draw more. It's not just the bird, but the whole surrounding context that tells the story the best.

i beati said...

wish I could see the tit birds close up some day

TexWisGirl said...

i love your blackbirds - look so much like our robins (thrush)

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Beautiful photos.

Regards and best wishes

Two Barking Dogs said...

You have a wonderful menagerie in your backyard!

Please stop by my blog for a link to a new movie coming out soon called "Darling Companion" with Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline. I thought I would share with all of the Camera Critters! I haven't seen it yet .. but I'm looking forward to seeing it. Let me know what you think!

heyBJK said...

Love your Kestrel shot, Phil! Beautiful!

chubskulit said...


My Critter post, have a blessed Sunday!

Stewart M said...

Hi there - very nice pictures in the last post - and then I found this one.

The book is a five star read in my opinion - it's a really different take on birds to the normal "big year" sort of book.

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

Carole M. said...

each beautiful photographs; they each seem to have attitude

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