A short bluesy interlude

Last Saturday found me in Cambridge with my daughter, and on our meanderings through town we dived into Fopp, which is probably my favourite shop of them all because not only does it sell CD’s (terribly 20th century, I know), but it also has a fair vinyl selection! The upshot of that was that I left for home a good few pounds lighter and a few discs heavier, and one of those discs consisted of the entire recorded output of the original Chicago blues man, Robert Johnson.

So as soon as we got home I inserted said Mr Johnson into the CD player and lost myself in the blues, and whilst I was in my blues-fueled reverie I noticed there was alot of avian activity going on in the garden so I grabbed my camera and spent a few minutes photographing them, so here is a selection of my visitors:

My favourite garden visitor is the dunnock (Prunella modularis, Dansk: jernspurv). He hunkered down in the border and watched me taking photographs

Another species which is appearing more and more often in gardens is the wood pigeon (Columba palumbus, Dansk: ringdue). Wood pigeon are a much maligned species in my opinion, they seem to be universally despised by country folk and shot out of the skies in huge numbers. Having said that, there are huge numbers of them, and I often see flocks of many hundreds or even thousands in Histon and one of these flocks can decimate a fields of sprouting crops in a very short space of time. So it’s understandable that they are not at the top of the farmers’ christmas card list.


Much disliked the wood pigeon may be, but they are handsome birds and more than welcome to refuel in my backyard!

And then who should appear, but my resident blackbirds. The gladiatorial action is long past now and they have settled down to the business of reproduction. I can’t confirm it yet but I think they may have built a nest in one of my bushes. I hope so.


The blackbird male in his new found larder

My wife and daughter created this new flowerbed at the weekend and he spent a good few minutes meticulously turning over the surface on a quest for an insect feast. He’d just finished working his way from one end to the other when the female entered from the left and sent him packing  in short order.


The blackbird female mopping up the insects disturbed by the male

The romance is over now and they’re into the serious business of begetting and raising young. Lots of bird species are currently using my garden so I’ll try to post some more pictures of them in the near future, hopefully including fledglings.

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24 responses to “A short bluesy interlude

  1. The dunnock is gorgeous…my son liked the blackbird.

  2. I know I just learned how the blackbird female looked like.. Thanks a lot! 😉

  3. Yes, it’s amazing hearing the complete works Robert J and realising just how many were appropriated by the likes of Zep, The Stones etc in the 60s. Indeed even Hugh Laurie is at it on his recent bluesy album!

  4. I’m a John Lee Hooker person. Glad to learn a fellow Blues admirer!
    Your talents with narrative and photography is rare indeed (and is aspirational for me).

    I finally got around to accepting the Versatile Blogger Award that you so kindly bestowed on me. I thoroughly enjoy your posts and felt compelled to reciprocate the gesture.

    When you have a moment, I hope you can hop over for a read:
    http://haphazardlinkages.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/a-stellar-quarter-7-awards-of-recognition/

    Irrespective of whether your decision to accept/decline the award, I shall remain a faithful visitor!

    • Hello HaLin, I never imagined the Naturephile would be considered aspirational, especially by such a talented wordsmith as yourself. Thanks for your comment and the reciprocation, I will hold fire until my own virtual Rolodex is replete with deserving blogs, but accept I will.

  5. i love birds. and i dont understand why pidgeons draw so much hatred to them. i have two wood pidgeons in the backyard right now, they are very busy making love ;). i enjoy them being around and i am looking forward to seeing their little ones – hopefully they will make it.

    • Hello Giannina, I reckon it has something to do with the way huge flocks of them munch their way through crops. But if we humans provide such a well stocked platter where the pigeons feed what can we expect? We need to learn how to share.

      I hope your pigeons have a succesful breeding season and help to replenish those lost to the gun.

  6. Hi Finn, I nominated you for the SUNSHINE BLOG AWARD. Check it out on my blog… Lovely pics by the way! 🙂

    • Hello Letizia,

      Thankyou and thankyou. Wow! It’s very rewarding to know my blog is being enjoyed sufficiently to have awards bestowed on it. I didn’t anticipate that when I started writing. I’ll be very happy to accept it and fulfil my acceptance obligations, but as with the Versatile Blogger Award which I was nominated for by Rick from the excellent blog ‘btweenblinks’, I’m going to hold fire until I have discovered another 10 blogs to pass the award on to.

      Best wishes

      Finn

  7. What a wonderful combo: blues and garden birds! I like wood pigeons too – particularly their call which always reminds me of long summer days. They sometimes sit on the chimney above the kitchen and the sound reverberates around the room!

    It’s also wonderful to read the word ‘reverie’. Such a beautiful – but much underused – word.

    • Hello Meanderer, the concensus here seems to be overwhelmingly in favour of the pigeons, so I’m pretty pleased about that, and they do make a very pleasant, gentle sort of sound.

      I guess ‘reverie‘ isn’t a terribly common word these days; it summed up my state of mind on Saturday though. I’m glad you like it.

  8. A lovely mixture, old school blues and beautiful birds! I used to love visiting Fopp when I lived in Edinburgh, it was so unbelievably cheap and full of interesting stuff. What do your children think of your blues music?

    I’m in agreement with you about wood pigeons. I think they’re pretty and their relaxing cooing call takes me back to childhood holidays in the south west corner of Scotland. I can understand them being left off the Christmas card list of farmers, but they’d get a card from me.

    • It was indeed a high quality 10 minutes. The wood pigeons are now regular visitors and I can have 3 or 4 in the garden at any one time, and they do have a relaxed air about them. It’s nice to be able to appreciate their elegant plumage at close quarters.

      The kids have been raised on an eclectic mix of music – I like a selection of everything, from Mozart to Motorhead – so that’s what they get subjected to. But they don’t seem to mind too much!

      • That’s great, you’re giving them a very useful musical education which they’ll thank you for in later life, I have no doubt.

      • You’re absolutely right, my daughter appreciates it already, I’ve taken her to the Cambridge Folk Festival several times and we’ve seen some great bands and musicians together, she loves live music. She’s 10 now and is utterly miffed because I won’t take her to see Motorhead! Cool kid.

  9. All in all, a very good day, I’d say! This is the first dunndock I’ve ever encountered, I think, and he looks like he didn’t mind your proximity at all. You must be very good to them. Keep it up!

    • It was a very good day – birds and blues – what could be better?

      The dunnock is one of those little brown guys that it’s very easy to overlook, but they’re here in abundance and up close they have lovely colours. I’ll keep feeding them.

  10. I also think the wood pigeon is handsome!

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