So the bird song has almost come to an end and the arias of blackbird, robin, thrush and chaffinch are no longer trilling out across the garden, only the cheeping of sparrows, an occasional sparkling cadence from the goldfinches and the twitter of swallows. But even they seem to have taken to the moors and we don’t hear them so often now their young have left the nests.
But the nightjars arrived about 10 days ago or so, judging by the frantic activity that greeted me at dusk about 9 days ago on the edge of the once clear-felled woods where they have been in residence for some years. The stumps of the pine trees have turned into strange young trees with wiggly tops that make them look like a coven of witches in the gloaming. The nightjars choose to bed their nests on the ground in the middle of this crowded amphitheatre and the sharp spikes of the conifers must give them some protection.
At dusk the first sound is a shrill kee-wick, an alarm call. Then comes the unearthly sound of the male nightjars’ churring that fills the air. On a still night the sound carries quite a way.
Last night (no midges)we felt blessed when one of the nightjars flew uncannily and silently round and round our heads, hovering in the air with a V shaped wingspread as if the air is a liquid and holds the bird in suspension. Its flight is like a moth’s which is what it eats on the wing, mouth open. Its silhouette is like a small hawk and it can flutter and soar and drop like a stone. The journey from Africa may be long and arduous but you can see how this bird is created for air.
I am interested in why I love birds so much as it isnt a new thing in my life. I wonder what it is they mean to me so I try to work that out in my many bird poems. Today I found this beautiful Islamic text:
and this lovely website: https://aspeechofbirds.wordpress.com/
where there’s a quote from Sharon Olds that interested me: