Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Dunlin or knot?



No, this is not about a post about bird ID, but rather it is about me - of course it is - and the stuff i have learnt over the years. Sometimes i wake up with things in my head. Like the other night, how the giant's wife in Jack and the Beanstalk wanted him dead, really. This morning i woke up, in the middle of a dream, which was me walking on the shore and i saw a flock of birds landing by the water and my first thought was, are they knot or dunlin? Cos i can't tell them apart, but i do know that they must be either.

I got up at this point and thought, how did bird ID enter my dreams? I then checked FB and mosied on down to the kitchen and made breakfast. An egg, a slice of toast and a slice of bacon. With some tea (i have run out of coffee). I cooked the egg and bacon with the least amount of oil i could. I toasted the bread. When the eggs and bacon were cooked i placed the toast on the plate, the bacon on the toast and the egg on the bacon. I squeezed some HP sauce on the side. I poured hot water into my cup and then thought, making breakfast is a sacred thing. I was really hungry, but because it was not much by way of a first world breakfast, i really enjoyed every mouthful. Thank you, i thought, to the bread and the bacon and the runny, creamy egg. Thank you.

Then i had some tea and thought, i must blog.

In addition to thinking about whether it was knot or dunlin, i managed to also simultaneously think about other birds found at the seashore - like curlew, gulls (black-headed, herring, lesser and greater black-backed - other gulls i can't really ID), heron, plover, greenshank and redshank. Later, after i woke up, i also thought about other birds which i had learned to ID. There actually aren't many birds in this part of the world - in Northern Ireland, i mean. When we were in the hotel in Connemara, there were many paintings of birds and wildfowl. As i walked down the corridor and went snipe, Brent, long-eared owl, goldfinch...

I can hear the birds singing already. I stood yesterday in the school garden and i could feel the ground buzzing with life, like an orchestra before the performance, when the musicians tune all their instruments together. Bulbs were already coming through with their bright green shoots and on the trees, buds made bare branches even more knobbly. Birds were pairing up, some flowers had already begun to bloom. The light could be felt returning as each day prised more light from the sun. The gesture of the world was one of reawakening and never before had i felt it so clearly in January.

Things were new and shiny, no wonder people too want to be new and shiny when the world remakes itself.

I hope to get a run in today after i finish doing the classroom. Then i will clean up the study and clean the kitchen in the house. Make some cookies, get ready for a new year. There is much to be done, but done it will be. And so much beckons, shorelines, mountains, recipes, forests, people... and soon, very soon, it will be spring.

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