Tag Archives: birds

wild

starlings in black n white

October, the month of heaven & grace

Marvellous moments of lightness, privileged times among paired swans, preening and sharing love in grace at last light… Statuesque haigries (herons) around our bays, the joy to reconvene with our beautiful Earth. I observe them from the distance, with that humble feeling, so intimate the moment. The light is soft, nearly sunset. The air is charged with tenderness and love in that autumnal sense of rawness…

Intimate. So privileged, I feel.

Sensual, magical.

This north end corner of Spiggie Loch gradually welcomes them back, as the Arctic winter dictates. They will flock in and preen, share a few weeds with a few ducks – gather on the shore for bathing and arrange their feathers, and roost by twos… A bit of love inside a world so few can taste.

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treasure islands

img_6439

Love my homeworld, and shared it with five intrepid explorers.

Here it is, in a poetic form.

A Day among Birds

I felt the sea today,

harnessed my

heart to

wave

level.

Gannets,

gannets, gannets filled

my sky – solan,

havsule,

a sea of wings in island blue above

my eyes, like a painting or

magic swarm

morning had flushed off in

a dream…

My memory now

filled with salt they call

spindrift – today I felt

treasure islands.

NH 2017

Photos at my Instagram (@nordicblackbird)

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swallows

 

 

 

 

 

On the topic of migration, hirundines – the embodiment of summer – and swallows in particular have always captivated my heart. I remember them nesting under the roof in rue de la Libération in Gisors as a child; and their return every year throughout life – wherever I have settled – remains magical.

Today I watch them return on the island, so far away from my grandmother’s home, and every time they rekindle that moment of discovery as a child… They fly from West Africa to reach us. Their journey feels incredible – travellers without papers across our northern hemisphere. They come to create the next generation – they have two homes, they are the product of two worlds, and they embody with so much grace many of us, humans, who have been blessed with more than one home…

A powerful allegory.

 

Here, to celebrate those amazing avian wanderers, a string of micropoetry, first written in French, then, translated in mirror.

 

Les hirondelles

1.

Furtives,

des anges habillés bleu et noir,

avec dans leurs yeux, du courage;

l’iris riveté au soleil, avides d’amour hors des nuages, sous

les génoises, elles font un voeu.

1.

Furtive,

they, angels clad in black & blue,

with courage in their eyes;

iris riveted to the sun, avid to love in cloudless skies, under

a roof they make a wish.

2.

Intrépides,

elles traversent déserts, champs et mers,

se confient aux cours d’eau, les chansons de la terre

pour retrouver enfin une once du berceau.

2.

Intrepid,

they fly across deserts, meadows and seas;

confide to waterways, the many earthly songs, to

find at last an ounce from home.

3.

Je les entends venir enfin,

leurs longues plumes dans mon ciel,

s’arrêter  sur un fil de fer, entre iris et mur de pierres,

un rebord de gouttière,

la latitude de leurs ancêtres.

3.

At last I hear them come,

their long feathers inside my sky,

to perch on a wire, in between iris and stone walls,

the edge of a gutter –

their ancestors’ latitude.

 

 

 

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in my own words…

 I write because I have things to say. When I don’t, I listen to the world – the wind, the ocean, birds and auroras – and I look up to the stars. The onpaper-and-wordse who stops looking at them forgets. The one who keeps looking at the stars will find his/her footprints in he snow. I live on an extraordinary island that feeds my spirit and imagination. Come and discover my journey, as I have lived my life with a compass in my head.

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wheel of life

hairst b and w.jpg

September, month of smiles and tears.

Yesterday, I congragated with friends and fellow writers from the Westside as well as the Waas community to say agoodbye to one of us. I loved the way his son spoke of my friend, and the way Janet somewhat managed to conceal some of her grief. The service was very poignant. I, among so many of us, will miss the good doctor who animated our monthly friday nights in Weisdale, as well as the many facets of everyone who was connected to his life. But he lives in our hearts, and his writings testify the life journey of a very brave, adventurous, life and children loving man. Rest in peace, Robin.

September, change of light.talking sky in Hairst.jpg

Weeks fly like lit gun powder; fridays tear down the pages of our almanacs like a develish, untamed child too eager to rid of school days. And the sky follows suite. Little have I noticed sunsets and sunrises shifted on the the great cosmic clock… That daylight had begun to shrink. The island now unveils those autumnal hues.  A more difuse light now clads everything on the island. The sky awaken and talks again.  Whereas swans are starting to flock at Spiggie, others are thinking to go… Northern wheatears, pied wagetails and meadow pipits, together with a few swallows still grace our fence posts, road verges and fields… Though they too will depart from our shores and let others replace them for the darker months ahead.

September, trade of wings. young wheatear.jpg

That juvenile northern wheatear will home itself south of my eyes for a few months, should it survive that great epic maiden flight south. I feel somewhat eager to reconvene with our winter visitors, whilst already marvelling at eclipse or winter plumage from some of our local avian friends. Guillemots certainly are noticeable from Gutters’ Gaet or Bressay Sound.  And if observation feels rather limited during weekdays, the odd visit to harbours, lochs, fields, voes and wicks (bays) rekindles that pleasure.

mute-swans

And as nothing remains the same, September will vanish in flames, and let October take over. With the tenth month, I too will trade land and migrate for precious time to the other side side of he North Sea, as I will reconvene with friends and fjords. That second collection of verse demands so, as my heart does.

With October, the more prominent return of darkness… And the almanac will obey the laws of the universe.

IMG_2854

 

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loose

   My very first thought as I discovered Wednesday from mid-morning: 

Do we need to set alight replica viking longships to stop rain? …Let’s carry on, ’cause it’s working! 

The day after the great bonfire in Lerwick gave us all hope to stretch our legs in style, as a much calmer day overrode a miserable Tuesday (and the final Wednesday of January allows us that in the first place!) . 

Needless to say I would not stay put inside home, as the island was calling me out for an afternoon in the wild.

  
And it began with a great northern diver off Rerwick Beach, where a colony of common seals littered a good part of white sand.

  
From the roadside, they look like slugs…

   A family of whooper swans graced the dullness of Spiggie Loch in low light. 
  
And moorhens whizzed in between pools… 

  
On the North Sea side of the island, teals & waders foraged at will on what the bay offered to them. Every wild gale feels generous, as rollers bring forest of kelp to be picked on from the edge of our known world. 

Loose on a Wednesday afternoon, with the magic of the island.

  
That wonderful window of freedom felt a privilege, as well as penicillin to winter. 

Magic moment so beneficial to the soul – a sample of winter wildlife on my Nordic doorstep. 🙂 

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migration

They flock, they feed, they fare, they fly…

SO is the taenvolle of Earth’s winged creatures that dare to tame our meridians, gales, tides and cycles of the moon… This urge to breed make them undertake an extraordinary journey, from the estuaries in Eastern and Southern England to the more sub-Arctic region where I find them on my local mudflats. I, as many, am in awe to their ability to find their way, memorise routes, resilience in the face of danger(s), as well as their physical stamina for their size in this everlasting race for life and endurance.sanderlings are go

How do they do it? So extraordinary, for us, humans from the 21st Century, parked inside patches guarded by politics & bill in sandpassports…

Some even go further than that.

Take the Arctc Tern (Sterna paradisea) – a species that holds a formidable record in terms of annual migration. Its sttirrickory reads incredible. And yet terns remain one of many avian species that takes this immense risk to defy the rules of nature and undertake such vital marathon.

knots [1]

At this moment in time, autumnal migration has begun. Many waders – knots, sanderlings, ringed plovers, redshanks, godwits, to name a few – grace the edge of each tide, beach or pool, around the island. Some, still in full regalia, others, moulles daltonsting. They come to feed and prepare for the long journey. And then, they will take to the air and disappear…

flight

We really live on an extraordinary planet.

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