A very interesting article in Saturday’s Guardian review section about our relationship with birds across the world. The author has been searching a wide range of literature for 7 years to collect writers’ views on birds and he also interviewed people in a range of countries. The article gives many examples of people liking particular species of birds or relating their experiences with birds e.g. a Canadian farmer watching chickadees surviving at -40 degrees or a newly bereaved widow’s experience with oystercatchers. My favourite section in this article was Jim Crace’s description of his liking for swifts. He writes “But still I crane my neck and track them at every opportunity, hoping I suppose to requite their deep indifference for me with my high regard for them”. Crace admires “their yachting wings, their epic, weather-driven restlessness, their teasing fickle seasonality”. Crace compares what he calls the “aloofness” of the swifts with their alpine relatives – Alpine swifts – who come closer and are much more vocal. Crace states that ” the noise trapped in the dilapidated, medieval, traffic-free alleyways and courtyards [in the town of Grasse] is deafening and eerie. At least a thousand screaming swifts have condescended to spend an hour close to me. This article is highly recommended – whether you like birds or not.
One of the prettiest wild flowers about in the countryside at the moment are harebells. Photos 1 and 2 below show the delicate nature of the harebells and their gentle colour. Their bonnet like leaves shelter the yellow stamens inside. They attract bees also, so they are not only pleasing to the eye but serve a useful purpose in the environment.
Yesterday, a nice walk around Cove Harbour which is a hidden gem along the coastline near Cockburnspath (pr Co’burnspath), a village about 9 miles from my home in Dunbar. To get to Cove harbour, you park and walk down the road and then turn right and go through a dark tunnel (see photo on Cove harbour link). You then emerge to a small harbour which is protected on 3 sides by cliffs, one of which is made of gleaming red sandstone. Photo 3 shows a view of the harbour from the clifftop and photo 4 shows the harbour behind tall thistles. There is also an interesting rock formation around the harbour and photo 5 shows an example of this. Back up from the harbour, we walked along the clifftop path from Cove to Pease Bay. There is a good video of Cove harbour and the clifftop walk on Youtube. It’s an easy walk with stunning views of the sea and the countryside and yesterday, we passed swaying fields of ripe barley, the heads having changed to a darker brown. At Pease Bay we walked through the ;large caravan/mobile home park and sat on a bench, eating ice lollies and watching people on the beach and in the flat calm sea. Good exercise, good company and good views.