Variations On a Theme

Birds seemed scarce at Belfair Saturday, but a large number of Red-Winged Blackbirds seemed to be holding a spring musical festival.

There were hundreds of male Red-Winged Blackbirds, all apparently trying to sing louder than their competitors.

Some were perched on cattails singing loudly

Others serenaded us from branches hanging over the pond:

While others showered us with music from above:

They sang so beautifully, I could almost believe they were singing for us.

7 thoughts on “Variations On a Theme

  1. I used to see heaps of these for about 3 years, but the last 3 years barely at all. I would have to head toward the beach if I were determined to see a few, and I don’t do that much. But I miss the red-winged blackbirds!

  2. Well, they were, of course…and you answered with a tiny poem (composed of those lines appended to your photos. The only proper answer. It’s a good one.

    Do you know the lines “The trees are in their autumn glory…”? (is it Housman?) I have a strong hunch that you would like his crafted lyrics in praise of nature, because like you he had a bitter sense of the ironic that moved behind those lines.

  3. Yes, ‘almost’ :)

    I was watching a royal battle between three hen blackbirds in the garden this morning, competing for the favours of the very handsome cock bird who was whistling nonchalantly from the bare branches of the laburnum tree.

    All this is reminding me of Adlestrop by Edward Thomas, which you will doubtless know:

    Yes, I remember Adlestrop–
    The name, because one afternoon
    Of heat the express-train drew up there
    Unwontedly. It was late June.

    The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
    No one left and no one came
    On the bare platform. What I saw
    Was Adlestrop – only the name

    And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
    And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
    No whit less still and lonely fair
    Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

    And for that minute a blackbird sang
    Close by, and round him, mistier,
    Farther and farther, all the birds
    Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

  4. I think I have read it in passing, but I like it quite alot.

    I guess I’ll have to take a better look at Edward Thomas when I get a chance.

  5. Although Thomas was Welsh I think it’s a quintessentially ‘English’ poem, detached yet nostalgic at the same time. Every schoolboy here reads it – or did when I was at school – but that’s not to denigrate it. I think it’s a beautiful poem. Apparently it was Robert Frost who encouraged Thomas to start writing poetry, at the age of 36. He died a couple of years later during WW1.

What do you think?