Saturday 23 February 2013

A few oddments about birdwatching

On Monday, I started leading another short series of birdwatching walks. The class this time is a mix of people who are total beginners (who recognise pigeons, mallards and robins and that's all) and people who've been along to the class several times and know their birds pretty well. After the introduction at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre we had a wander along the river and saw several birds, including a number of robins, who were singing in full voice.

Yesterday, as I blogged here, I had some wonderful birdwatching in and around Musselburgh. 

To tie in with the theme here's a short birdwatching related extract from my novel in progress, it's also part of the short story that features Humphrey, the rabbit who used to live at Cottontails Baby. (Humphrey won the competition to star in this story, sadly he has now passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Cottontails Baby recently got a new rabbit Rudolph.). The novel is set in a future, independent and much flooded Scotland.


"So you definitely want to go back to your island?" asked Jake.

"Part of me never wanted to leave and I'm always intending to be going back." Sheena stopped to point across the water. "Are you seeing the kingfisher there on that branch, just above the water. Surprisingly well camouflaged!"

Jake focussed his binoculars on the branch, but the kingfisher flew, a flash of turquoise across the water. 

"Such a lovely bird!" Sheena sighed. "None on an t'Eilean Fada or in New Edinburgh. Very few anywhere in Scotland now, so it's good seeing them."

"Such a colourful bird is good for a beginner like me!" said Jake. "Thank you for teaching me about birds! But I think most of them are more difficult than kingfishers!"

"The wee birds in the trees are confusing for a beginner" Sheena said *though how much more difficult it must have been in the Age of Technology when so many more species were flying around!"

"But I interrupted you" said Jake, after they had walked on for a few minutes, watching the birds. "You were saying you never wanted to leave your island."


and continuing the theme, the latest poem on Bolts of Silk is Birdwatchers by Chris Crittenden.


If anyone is in Edinburgh, this Spring, I'm teaching a new, evening birdwatching class as part of Edinburgh Council's community learning service. This will start 7.30pm 23 April at Broughton High School.  The idea will be to concentrate on birdsong. The first class will take place entirely at the school, then the next four classes will be walks round local areas rich in birdsong. You can book a place here.

as ever, red text contains hyperlinks that take you to webpages where you can find out more. 


The Weaver of Grass said...

Like the extract Juliet. How are you progressing with the novel?

RG said...

Lots of birdwatching interest!

I like that many avid birdwatchers are part of organizations/support organizations that are for protecting and adding habitat. As my birdwatching friend says - "Habitat, habitat, habitat. No cats."

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A class on birdsong, marvellous.

"Concentrating on Birdsong" could be the title of a poem...

Gill Edwards said...

Hi and thank you so much for visiting and the kind birthday wishes. I too am a birdwatcher though just my local trees. I have seen some amazing birds over the years.

Gill x

Carol Steel said...

I enjoyed the extract. How is the work on the novel going? I wish I lived close enough to join your birdwatching class, but do so enjoy the blogs about your adventures.

Caroline Gill said...

Exciting to read an extract, Juliet! I wish I was within range of Edinburgh for your courses ... though it is lovely having Minsmere a short distance away. I really enjoyed Chris' poem, too, with its visual Van Gogh allusion.

Gillena Cox said...

happy bird watching; also, i read your poem 'Return' through a Twitter feed, Congrats

much love...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

How fun -- I wish I could be in your class! I watch birds and I read a lot, but don't think I've ever read a novel where the characters were birders! Yours will be the first.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, you are keeping busy, leading birdwalks and teaching and writing! Love the extract! Have a happy week ahead!