Saturday, January 26, 2008

Birdsong at eventide

I woke up before first light and got up and wrote some letters, as I had things on my mind. When Clare went off to Monmouth for her 'Ysgol un dydd', at eight thirty, I went back to bed and fell asleep, to be wakened late morning by my sister June on the phone. We talked for ages, and it was lunchtime when I finally dressed. A very lazy day off.

Mid afternoon I went out for a walk up the Taff Trail to Tesco's for a newpaper, to get some exercise. I lingered a while and when I returned it was sunset. The first mile of footpath linking Cathays with the Excelsior business park where Tesco's is sited has a wide strip of trees and bushes bordering the parkland which is the other side of the river. I was simply astonished at the size and variety of the bird population there.

First in the tall conifers behind the supermarket a massive colony of starlings, all talking at the same time. Then a collection of thrushes who seemed to be arguing and hurling extrordinary musical sounds at each other like duelling jazz musicians. Then, there was a sprinkling of ever melodious blackbirds and finches, and finally a few tits. Then, about a hundred yards before the path and the road all but converged, no birdsong at all. It's as if the birds were avoiding getting too close to the roar of traffic on North Road where their voices might not be heard. And, all throughout that exquisite mile of sound, a view through the trees, across the river of a sunset with red and black clouds in the sky. Thrilling.

I must do that walk more often.

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