Saturday 25 April 2015

The Lark Ascending

Had a beautiful encounter while out on my run this afternoon.

I had just turned off the Sustrans 64 and was making my slightly stumbly way across the Hawton Works grassland, when a bird erupted from the ground a few metres to my right, emitted a few excited tweets and then gently settled back in the long, uneven tufts of grass, where it was joined shortly afterwards by a second bird.

I crept a little nearer, hoping to spot one of the birds on the ground, but I had barely taken a step when both birds launched themselves into the sky again. I kept a close eye on one of the birds, entranced as it made its way continually higher into the sky with a peculiarly demented fluttering of its wings.

It sang all the while, excited trills with a slightly electronic, vocoder quality, almost like kids simulating a laser gun fight. "Peeeeew-peee-peee-peeeeeewwwwww-peew-peew-pee-pee-pee-peeeeeeewwwwww-peeeeeeewwww" with a complex series of changes in pitch.

It kept flying higher and higher, hovering motionless into the wind as it climbed, singing all the while. It must have got to well over 60-70 metres up, before holding out its wings stiffly like an umbrella, it slowly sank back to earth.

After waiting over 30 years, I ad reacquainted myself with a skylark, and it was glorious. I can do no justice to its song, but luckily Vaughan Williams could. The opening of this piece captures the skylark's call perfectly.

After that, well I ran to Cotham Flash paddocks where I was lucky enough to see both yellow wagtail and a pretty flock of around 20 linnet feeding on the ground. My new Tresspass rucksack is proving to be very handy for my cycling and running, enabling me to pack my binoculars and extra running gear without me dangling everything in a plastic bag like a clumsy buffoon.

I made it home without being stung by a wasp again - a red wasp as been identified as the most likely candidate - but found that my bike had fallen across the back door and effectively locked me out of my own flat. 

Luckily my stepfather lives nearby, and the application of a plank through the letterbox managed to move the dratted thing enough to let me in. 

I'm so clumsy and disaster prone!


Bluebells now out in the cemetery

Wood sorrel (?) is out too

This peculiar stuff was next to the cricket pitch

Bad weather beyond the Hawton Works larks

Hawton church

Pink blossom rampant in Devon Park

My Tresspass rucksack THAT I PAID FOR

This cheeky fellow came to watch my door struggles

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