Surely, all poems/verses/doggerel should try to be educational/useful in some way. Even being silly is "useful" if it cheers people up for a little while.
This one, I hope, does a little bit of all of that......
never climbs to the tops of trees
it doesn't like to be up high
like Polysticta stelleri
whilst Ardea cinerea
likes to catch a fish for dinner.
However, Merops superciliosus,
eats bees without the slightest fuss.
(Your Charadrius hiaticula
likes an over-ripe cucumber.)
flew in from Europe years ago
and Hippolais polyglotta
makes its nest from terra-cotta.
makes hers in an omnibus.
(Anas discors, rather neatly
uses an old Woman's Weekly.)
The wily Larus philadelphia
lives a life that's so much healthier
eating lots of Otis tarda
which she keeps in a fancy larder
also stocked with Cinclus cinclus
(and Grus's "antigone" and "grus"
which some think is ridiculous.)
Crex crex is rather keen on seaweed
unlike Carduelis chloris
it prefers a bowl of linseed
and, perhaps, a boiled Doris
(which is a sea-slug, rather colourful
and like Upupa epops, wonderful.)
Your average Zonotrichia
is a lifelong nosy parker
(like Tringa nebularia
And now, some appropriate music .......
08:43 .... a Swift has flown high over the house
it might be the last of the year .
they weigh a bit more than a mouse
but considerably less than a deer.
I always have a " bird of the day" ..though it isn't always a bird.
I have written about it before... so it won't come as too much of a shock to either of my loyal readers.
Yesterday's " bird of the day" was a Swift.
I saw several yesterday, but one particular one stood out from the rest.
That's the thing ... circumstances often make tiny things more memorable.
We ( the Significant Otter and me) went up to Lancaster to visit my sister and some of her menagerie, and then us two went up to Wiggly Park, which is our name for Williamson Park, the one whose massive memorial is visible from the M6 as you whoosh by, poking out of the park's numerous trees.
We call it that because loads of people get lost what with the maze-like twisty paths and the almost total lack of intervisibiity due to the trees I mentioned earlier.
Anyway, we sat on a bench which overlooks the city and I scanned the apparently empty vista spread out below us ..... and then, a Swift loomed into the view.
It was really, really high up and really really far away, ploughing its solitary way southwards over Lancaster. Lowering the bins, I couldn't even see it with the naked eye. That made it even more mysterious and noteworthy.
So that was the Bird of the Day.
because it was Far Away
and extremely altitudinous
which increased its interestingness.
I hope you "do" your own "bird of the day."
Even if it's sometimes a stoat.
Or a Brown Argus.
Here's your appropriate music spot ...... "On a good day" with Joanna Newsom
I put the first part of this on here ages ago ..... it's from a Paul Jennings book called The Jenguin Pennings which is full of quirky little stories like this one.
If you want to see the first bit ....
here's the link .... (can't find it )( but I will) ( in the fullness of time)
And now,even though you haven't read the first bit, here's the 2nd half of it, with a bit missed out in the middle because it rambled on a bit .... something, of course, that I never do .....so far he's been telling us about all the strange birds that inhabit his garden/house, and the parallel worlds of "men" and "birds."..........his only source of information being Severe Benson's " Observers Book of Birds" which, I would say, is not the absolute apex !
None of these are the birds I actually want to look up ( in The Observers Book of Birds ). I get diverted on to these fascinating creatures, that growl and shuffle in tunnels, while the ones I am looking up fly away.I can't help feeling that the birds we have aren't in the book anyway. We have the Telephone Bird, which makes a noise exactly like a telephone bell heard through three doors.We rush to answer it, the phone is silent, it was that bird again. The telephone Bird is a resident, 8" long, and dances at night in old pipes. Then we have the Garage Bird, found all over southern England in garages where convertible cars are kept, with perishable hoods. Even the novice bird-watcher can detect their presence, for his car looks as though it were kept permanently in Trafalgar Square. They live in garages in colonies of twenty or thirty. They eat brown paper and Scotch Tape, at least they do in my garage.
I put up sheets of heavy brown paper , hanging underneath the nests, to protect my hood.. The next morning it was lying in strips on the car or hanging from the roof. The Garage Birds, which are like very small seagulls, and their fledglings, which hatch out in September and look like small vultures, were sitting on a beam, eating brown paper and growling. I have an idea they drink paraffin too. The tap on my paraffin drum is always dribbling when I come into the garage, and there is a Garage Bird fluttering drunkenly between the drum and the window.
It is hard to see whether they like me or not.
They must know that if there were no men there would be no garages for them to live in, and no paraffin. But they always try to make me jump, they flitter just too close to my ears in the dark garage. I wish they would go and shuffle in some tunnels. I don't think I like birds quite as close as this.
We have the " Chimney Shuffler" in our house sometimes .... what it does is, it makes a "shuffling" noise up and down the chimney. And eventually "it" stops. We don't know whether that's for a good reason or a bad one.
This song has nothing to do with all that ... except that garages are dark most of the time ... and tunnels ...this is a smashing cover of DCFC's remarkable song " I will follow you into the dark"
I'll do my best, which generally isn't good enough, to find that first bit .
If any of you lot out there in the real world come across the post that is "it" perhaps you could tell me .... firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's another of those " E.J. Thribb"-style obituaries .....
Except that I wrote it.
It also serves as a "follow-on" to the theme of my previous post.
Kevin's mum has always
had a soft spot
She saw Easy Rider
I don't know
And so did
I thought it was a lost
All those birds to see.
But they just
in both senses of
in both senses of the word
I wish him well
in the afterlife.
But I suspect that there are no
motorbikes in heaven.
that's where he will
hang up his helmet
for the last
( Not by E.J.Thribb, but respecting his notional age of 17¼)
And now, as a remarkably appropriate bonus
here's the whole film of Easy Rider.
And there quite a bit of birdsong in it !
But none of those things I "invented" in the previous remarkabule articule ..
Hey ...a short , snappy and inventive articule !
How many films have I sat through and wondered ... "Hey-up, what's that bird I'm hearing up in that tree/hanging on to that cliff/flying low over the sea ?"
My estimate, using the Füchshäber-Löbeling Equation = 317
In much the same way as every book should have an index, every film should have subtitles , or little arrows or whatever, telling you useful and interesting things about all sorts of stuff.... especially, in my case, what all those birds are that I can hear and/or see. Especially the "hearing" bit.
I mean, education, education, education.
With all that modern technology, you could even personalise the idea .... you could instruct your smartphone to "tell" the film to "inform you" about all the birds and bird songs in the film as they happen up there on the screen ... and the person next to you could instruct hers to inform her about where the female lead got her lipstick from .. it's win-win all round.
And when someone in the film goes into a shop and buys lots of stuff, you could tell the film to show you a quick and clever way of adding up the bill in your head.
That sort of happens in one of the Jonathon Creek stories.
There ... a brilliant idea that will almost certainly never happen.
It was MY idea as well.
But I will allow anyone who wants to "do" it to do it for free.
Whereas lots of things we don't want seem to multiplying exponentially.
Right ...the music ... a "literal" version of ......
.... (make a little) birdhouse in your soul .....
Way, way back in post 561, link here ... 561-that-all-important-day-count.html
I used some self-generated data and a rather dubious bit of pseudo-maths to work out how many individual birds there were in this wonderful world of ours.
It came to a remarkably respectable 4.8 billion.
In this much more sensible post I'm going to have a more rational approach ...
Here we go .....
I had another think about that 984 day count .... and I've thought up a better (?) way to try to use it to get a reasonable answer to the big question ... how many individual birds are there in the world ?
Well, I reckon that 984 day count took place in an area ± 2 square kilometres.
I didn't cover every inch of it, but then again, I was a bit jammy with that huge gull flock. Swings and roundabouts.
And that's 492 per square km.
It doesn't sound much, but if I'm going to use it to represent the world, you've got to remember that there are vast deserts with hardly any birds at all, and at the opposite end of the scale, habitats where there are maybe 1000's per sq km.
And according to Mickeypedia, the area of the UK is 245,532 square km.
... and that's 122761½ lots of 2 km²
So ..we multiply my 984 by 122761½ and we get ..... 120,797,316 birds in the UK.
That's about 2 birds for every one of us in the UK.
It doesn't seem very many.
If we look at the land area of the whole planet.... 148,940,000 km²
That gives us 492 x 148 940 000 = 73,278,480,000 land birds
Which is ± 73 billion individual landbirds. That's US billions.
But ... what to do about the sea ?
The Sea area ( world) = 335,268,000 km²
I doubt if there's right at this moment more than 10 birds/km² at sea.
And that would give us 33,526,800 birds at sea.
So that's ...... 73,278,480,000 land birds
plus 335,285,000 sea birds
TOTAL 73,613,765 ,000 world bird total !!
= ± 73.6 billion
Looking at it, I've no idea whether that's utter tosh or bang on !
It doesn't look too bad though ... considering !
Pretty reasonable really.
I wonder if a Nobel Prize might be a possibility .
I have to admit though, that those "magic numbers" can only be regarded as a "shot in the dark" . I have a horrible suspicion that I used that " joke" before .....
We went to put some new flowers on the family grave yesterday. My parents are both buried there, as will I be sooner or later. At my father's burial, a Treecreeper bustled up a nearby elm.
Then we wandered around a bit, what with it not actually raining for the first time in many soggy days, and came across this on a tucked-away obscure gravestone ......
I used to watch the birds, those were the days
and years. I listened too, and loved the fleeting phrase
of lark and linnet, swift and siskin floating in their sky
now terribly invisible from where I lie.
As you stand here, look up to see the birds for me
whilst I, below, await eternity.
That was rather unexpected.
I wrote it down .
And we did that very thing for a few minutes ....
Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 1
House Sparrow 1 ( distant)
This music seems very appropriate .....
Immer wenn ich dich besuch
Fühl ich mich grenzenlos.
Alles andere ist von hieraus so weit weg.
Ich mag die Ruhe hier
zwischen all den Bäumen
als ob es den Frieden auf Erden wirklich gibt.
Es ist ein schöner Weg
der unauffällig zu dir führt.
Ja, ich habe ihn gern, weil er so hell und freundlich wirkt.
Ich habe Blumen mit
weiß nicht, ob du sie magst.
Damals hättest du dich wahrscheinlich sehr gefreut.
Wenn sie dir nicht gefallen
stör dich nicht weiter dran.
Sie werden ganz bestimmt bald wieder weggeräumt.
Wie es mir geht, die Frage
stellst du jedes Mal.
Ich bin O.K., will nicht, dass du dir Sorgen machst.
Und so red ich mit dir wie immer
so als ob es wie früher wär
so als hätten wir jede Menge Zeit.
Ich spür dich ganz nah hier bei mir
kann deine Stimme im Wind hören
und wenn es regnet, weiß ich, dass du manchmal weinst
bis die Sonne scheint; bis sie wieder scheint.
Ich soll dich grüßen von den andern
sie denken alle noch ganz oft an dich.
Und dein Garten, es geht ihm wirklich gut
obwohl man merkt, dass du ihm doch sehr fehlst.
Und es kommt immer noch Post,
ganz fett adressiert an dich,
obwohl doch jeder weiß dass du weggezogen bist.
Und so red ich mit dir wie immer
und ich verspreche dir
wir haben irgendwann wieder jede Menge Zeit.
Dann werden wir uns wiedersehen
du kannst dich ja kümmern, wenn du willst
dass die Sonne an diesem Tag auch auf mein Grab scheint
dass die Sonne scheint, dass sie wieder scheint
Well ! The recent AGM of Flintshire Bird Club ended shambolically yesterday evening ..and here's why !
There's more than one bit of Flintshire !
Who knew ?
And last Thursday, several vociferous members declared a breakaway faction who wanted to, er, break away from the FBC and do their own thing.
They are going to call themselves " Part of Flint Bird Club." ( PoFBC for short).
What an ingenious and mellifluous name that is.
This came as a total surprise for everyone, especially the committee !
It wasn't on the agenda. Suddenly, people had to think for themselves.
Cripes ! Crivvens ! Briwsion ! Help me Bob ! Stap me Vitals !!
Spontaneity, resourcefulness, quick thinking, etc were in short supply.
That came as a shocking shock and totally flabbergasting blow to everyone.
It wasn't long before scuffles started to appear, then chairs and tables were getting thrown around, punches were being thrown, and Mrs Bronwen-Davies, our long-suffering President had her hat knocked onto the floor and trampled on by the Treasurer.
The amazing thing was, there were only 8 of us there !
That takes some doing.
And really, only seven of us were scrapping ... the Secretary was too busy writing it all down for the minutes !
A classic case of " please excuse the shaky handwriting."
Mind you, the POFBC are a fool to themselves, because they'll have no shoreline to scan, and their " Part-of-Flint List" will be pathetic. But, that's what they want.
As the meeting ended, as I said, in disarray, there are a few issues to be resolved.
Are "they" going to be allowed to be in "both?"
Are "the rest" going to be allowed to be in both ?
As there are only three people in the breakaway group, who's going to be what ?
Or to put in another way, who's going to be which ?
Will those who are in both get a " joint membership discount" ?
Who's going to pay for Mrs Bronwen-Davies' hat ?
Who will pay for the 3 damaged tables and broken piano lid ?
Will "they" hold "their" meetings on Thursday's too ?
Will they be on the same dates as "ours" ?
But the really vital question is, is there going to be the usual " anti-PoFBC" ?.
Remember ,,, every bird club has its opposite, antagonistic version as well.
Deadly enemies !
In Cumbria, it was always The King of Bryher v. Everyone Else.
With the FBC it's the Flintwitchers ...clever stuff eh ?
But we do have a " one-day-truce" for a Big Flintshire Bird Race"
I have, of course, written about them before.....
I have also, of course, forgotten whereabouts it is.
What will be the repercussions of all that I've no idea.
And we've still no idea as to where that huge box full of hundreds of pairs of binoculars came from, or if the President's going to leave, or if I'm ever going to get a ruling about my house being only half in Flintshire .... it's bloody Jungleland I tell you ....... or maybe Bungleland would be more like it.
Here's the words video for it .... I generally sing this on the way home from Chess Club on Friday nights .... it tough up in N.E. Wales you know ....... I tend to miss out the 3-minute solo in the middle though . And, topically, if you missed the twice-mentioned hidden bird in there, now's your big chance to find it with this rather ungrammatical words video .....
This morning on't steam radio there was a long item about Lyme Disease. I bet The Significant Otter 50p that they would blather on about it for 5 minutes but THEY WOULDN'T TELL THE LISTENERS HOW TO AVOID GETTING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
And guess what ... I was right. They never ever do.
So I'm going to tell you.
Here's the thing ...
DON'T WALK THROUGH TALL VEGETATION WITH BARE LEGS.
OR BARE ANYTHING FOR THAT MATTER.
Lyme Disease is transmitted via ticks,and those ticks lounge around on bracken etc just waiting for some halfwit with bare legs ( and arms too) to stroll past and then they latch onto you, stick in their Lyme Disease Injection Proboscis and you're stuffed.
Lyme disease is often poorly detected, and often far too late as well, and you can easily finish up with it for life .... and it can be seriously debilitating.
It horryfrys me when I see " nature lovers" and even professional naturalists strolling through bracken ( other tall plants are available) wearing shorts.
If you spot them doing "that sort of thing" I encourage you to sing out loud ...
" You are thick, and a dick, you're going to get a tick
and you'll get the deadly Lyme disease, so put some clothes on quick !"
..that's what I always do. I generally run way sharpish for safety reasons.
Are they simply stupid, or is it stupidity + ignorance ... a dodgy combination.
I have also, way way back in the life of this blog, advised you about other potential hazards ....... here's a few helpful links ....
Of course, it could be that You Already Know all that... in which case you can go straight to the music bit ... here it is ...
Here's an "official" version of what I said,but much more thorough, comprehensive, and wide-ranging ..it doesn't include that excellent song though. ...
How to Prevent Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that is transmitted to people via the the bite of infected ticks. Lyme disease is usually treatable using antibiotics, especially if caught quickly; however, as with most disease, an even better option than treatment is prevention. Read on to learn how to avoid catching Lyme disease in the first place.
1 Stay away from places where ticks are likely to be. There are numerous places where ticks thrive in different parts of the world.
Contact your the department of health to find out which outdoor spaces near you have tick problems.
Avoid places with lots of woods, forest, bushes and grass, especially from late spring-mid summer when ticks are most active.
Stay away from overgrown walking trails if possible.
2 Wear protective clothing when going outdoors.
Bright/light colored clothes will make it easier to spot ticks.
Wear long sleeves, long pants, and socks. Tuck in your shirt, and if possible, tuck your pant legs into your socks. If you are going to spend a great deal of time in a place where ticks are likely to be present in large numbers, use tape to seal the line where your pants meet the socks. This will help prevent the ticks from getting in.
You may want to treat your clothes with permethrin. Permethrin will kill any ticks that land on treated clothes. Impregnated permethrin usually lasts a few washings. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin.
3 Protect your skin from ticks with repellent. The CDC recommends using an insect repellent with at least 20-30% DEET on skin and clothing. Make sure that all exposed areas are treated, and repeat treatment as needed. However, a lot of people are against the use of DEET as it is a very strong chemical and it should never be used on children. Other methods for tick protection include:
4 Get ticks off clothing before going indoors. Wash and dry clothing using high heat levels to kill any ticks that you may not have found.
5 Check your skin for ticks after being outside, especially in areas with large tick populations. In addition to exposed skin, check protected areas such as the groin, armpits and scalp.
I6 Remove any ticks you find. Use tweezers to carefully remove the tick. Do not use any irritants such as a match, nail polish, petroleum jelly, or other products to remove the tick. 
Contact your physician after being bitten by a tick to see whether you should take an antibiotic after being bitten by a tick. This is usually not necessary, but may be recommended by your doctor in high-risk cases.
7 Learn the symptoms of Lyme disease. Since you may not always be aware of tick bites, it is a good idea to be able to recognize the Lyme disease symptoms. The symptoms of Lyme disease vary from one person to another.
8 Also. it can help to wash your hair, face, and hands as often as you can. When you get shampoo and soap into your skin, the ticks will fall off quicker than they normally
As an extra bonus feature, here's the characteristic "rash" you get after that tick bite.....
Last night The Significant Otter decided we would watch a film ... " When the whales came" which, she explained as a "reason", was filmed on Bryher.
So we did. One does not argue with The Significant Otter.
Just to let you know before you read the rest of this, it's a rubbish , deadly boring and gormless film, boring boring boring and crap. Pathetic. Preposterous.
After a few minutes all I was interested in was the scenery and any possible birds.
Well ,we weren't far in when I picked up a female Tawny Owl on call !
BUT ... looking in my Trusty Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland I find that Tawny Owls do not breed on Scilly. Hah !!
And later on, I heard the song of the Song Thrush .... but they do. According to the Atlas, that is.
Later on, much much later on, it seemed about 100 dreary years, there were some whales ... narwhals, if you're still awake. One of them beached itself ...it was an "animatronic" Narwhal and most convincing.
It was easily the most realistic thing in the film ! How ironic.
To be fair, the two children were excellent.
It's a shame it was all such a boring load of old crap.
And full of preposterous occurrences and plot-lines.
Why did their " shacks" have slatted walls with big gaps between the slats so the wind and rain would come in ?
How did the main family's shack mysteriously get poshed up in the last few minutes of the film ?
Why did we only get to see a tiny tiny bit of Bryher ?
When the whales came and one of them got stranded on the beach, a big mob of flame-carrying layabouts and thugs came down to the beach to kill all the whales because they thought they were a bad omen, but the little boy told them they mustn't, so miraculously and preposterously they all changed their minds and helped to cart the beached Narwhal back into the water. Very bloody likely !
Why did the film portray the school teacher as such a vicious bastard ?
And so was the father of the two children. Why do that ?
No ... I thought it was a feeble, nonsensical load of crap.
As do lots of reviewers on the internet.
Maybe the book is a lot better.
What we need now is a bit of fine and relevant music ....
Right then .... here's the excellent Huw M and "House by the Sea" .....
The strange thing is, I spoke to The King of Bryher about it, and he liked it !
That was my "surprise of the week."
I wonder where those anamatronic Narwhals are now ?
They're probably in some dark, gloomy warehouse in deepest Penzance.
A sad and ignominious fall from grace.
Yes, I am the writer of this somewhat peculiar birding blog, and it's all entirely my fault. There will occasionally be glimpses of sense and sensibility, but I will try to reduce that sort of thing to the absolute minimum.My guiding stars are Flann O'Brien, Peter Simple,Georges Perec , Frederick C. Crews and Patrick Campbell.