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Showing posts from March, 2020

Locked Down

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Only after completing my bird-music track “I’m going to sit in my garden and watch the birds” did I remind myself that I had myself spent 10 years sitting in the garden watching the birds. A blog post that I wrote a couple of years ago about the experience seems to have more relevance now.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ You scan the horizon, your view an expanse of hill, field and sky, then you focus in on a detail, maybe a bird or a tree. Does your perceptual world contract to a shrunken fragment? No, it stays the same size or maybe even expands. As your attention homes in, so there is a mental blossoming – what was coarse-grained becomes finescale. Uniform Mondrian blocks show their true nature as a filigree of delicate tracery.

Like a baby in a pram, whose universe consists of its mother and perhaps some toys, it seems limited, but this is the canvas upon which the everything plays out – all the sights smells and sounds to feed th…

"I'm going to sit in my garden and watch the birds"

In an interview on breakfast TV an elderly couple were asked about being confined to the house during the coronavirus epidemic and how they'd cope.

“But are you worried about potentially being cooped up for months on end?”

Elsie replied “I’m going to sit in my garden and watch the birds”

I used the sample of Elsie with my garden birds track.

It struck me that sitting in the garden watching the birds is something I'm a bit of an expert at - having done it for ten years!

During my decade of illness being wheelchairbound watching the birds in the garden is practically all I did. It was a revelation! Despite having a brain and body that wouldn't function I was seldom bored, seldom miserable. During that time the birds and the garden kept me going.

With confinement - does your perceptual world contract to a shrunken fragment? No, it stays the same size or maybe even expands. As your attention homes in, so there is a mental blossoming – what was coarse-grained becomes…

Two grebes a-grebing

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A lot of the Great Crested Grebe’s courtship display is about strengthening the pair bond. And there are a number of distinct behaviours.

The head-shaking display is probably the most familiar:
the head plumage is fanned into a ruff the birds then face each other and shake their heads from side to side
This display is mainly seen  in the early stages of courtship - usually performed when the pair is reunited after a period of separation. This suggests that it is used as a greeting and for reinforcement.

The most elaborate of the great-crested grebe’s displays is the ‘weed ceremony’ (left middle in the montage)
takes place just before the pair begin to build their nest platform. as part of this ceremony the two birds make a slow and deliberate dive to collect weed - before returning to the water’s surface and swimming towards each other, their heads held low to the surfaceas they meet, the birds rise from the horizontal to adopt a rigid vertical posture, which they hold by paddling their w…