Home

This morning, for seemingly the first time in weeks, bird song returned to the garden. Firstly, a hardy and optimistic Song Thrush took up a favourite perch high in a Maple and practiced his lines. Then Robins duetted. All was noise and song for about half an hour until the rains returned.

Every field is beyond saturation point. We watch the River Bure wondering how much more run-off water it can take. Puddles are too large to step around and the rain has an edge of cold which makes us scurry the dogs around before seeking sanctuary in the house.

Even as another smear of rain blows in our faces and the Winter mood appears to darken further, there are signs of life and the hint of preparation. The Ash’s black buds glisten and promise something for the future. Bullfinches work the new hedges at Low Farm and the contact calls of a distant group of Golden Plover drift through the murk.

In the village, the scent of wood smoke drifts along the Street. Cottages are decorated and decorations have appeared in the church for Christmas as everyone clings on to the light on the shortest day.

Brightness of sound

December 11, 2012

The stars shone with absolute clarity on Monday night. As I let the dogs out into the garden the bright spark of Jupiter dominated the sky. With a pair of binoculars I could clearly make two of Jupiter’s attendant moons before the cold drove me back indoors. These dry cold nights are the most rewarding for star gazers, so many more stars and galaxies flow into vision. But it is not just the stars which are clear, the sound world itself also becomes sharper and brighter.

It was not until the small hours that the shrill call of a vixen came like a sharp jab through an open window. Foxes are very vocal at this time of the year, their territorial part scream part bark can come as a surprise to the unaware. The vixen travels over considerable distances calling constantly as they map out the night time geography of their patch. As I lay in bed listening the sound map of the railway line and the vixen’s wider circuit was delivered by the regular repetitive call. This carried on until the air could no longer transmit the most distant call.