Feather, Fox and Blackthorn

Yesterday three things I saw caught in my imagination. On each occasion I had no camera, and so writing here will help the memories stick. Having no camera to hand, I have found, makes me remember in ways that are better for my drawing. Of the three I suspect the last will stay with me the longest, and have me reaching for my pencils.

1) AM, through the bathroom window, a chaffinch wrestling with detritus dropped from a jackdaw’s nest. The tiny creature stood on a tangle of horse hair, twigs and fluff, tugging at something caught in it. He was pulling strenuously against his own weight and had stretched the knotted stuff to his full height, looking less like a bird than a piece of feathered chewing-gum. Suddenly the recalcitrant item came free. It was a small, fluffy and entirely unremarkable feather, but the chaffinch flew off to his nest-making triumphantly wearing it like a moustache!

2) In our strip of woodland with Jack, I stumbled across a young fox. Rendered nearly black against the green and blue of the bluebells by a trick of the light, it crashed away noisily through the dry brash of fallen trees. Jack held his ground at my heels, lifting his nose to taste the scent. With all the wisdom of his years, I swear he raised one eyebrow and threw me a look that said, ‘That pup better learn some stealth or he’s not going to last long!’

3) Impaled and crucified in a blackthorn, a young buzzard, rigor mortis-ed in the trajectory of its flight. An awkward, angry death. I wondered whether it had been pursuing prey and made a misjudgment in the excitement of the chase. I’ve watched young buzzards practising their flight-skills in our paddock, and they can be clumsy when inexperienced. They don’t have the dexterity of the small hawks. One once knocked me flying when it cannonballed out of the tree-line like a bin-bag in a gale. We both sat upright in the grass and looked at each other, and I couldn’t say which was the more astonished.

But this one was not so lucky, and the thorns were long and stabbed deeply.

10 thoughts on “Feather, Fox and Blackthorn

  1. I am not sure you will read this, the entry being so old. Just to say : after I read it, I went to my Oscar Wilde book ( he is one of my favorites ever ), and read ” The nightingale and the rose ” , again. And I have to admit I preferred your tale about the young buzzard and the thorn.
    So , if you write like that, on top of it all:
    Is there anything you are bad at ?
    ¡ Qué bárbaro !
    Love
    María

    • Ha ha! Thank you, Maria.

      I get notifications from WordPress for all comments, no matter how old the posts. So feel free to comment anywhere you wish. Even in the deepest realms of the Artlog, whatever you write will be sent to me.

      Marly says that I should produce a book of wildlife writings. The reality is that there isn’t enough time for all the things I might do. I shall have to be that writer in an alternative universe. (There is also the significant fact that no publisher has ever asked me!)

      • Wow !!!
        Thanks
        I think your fans could group your writings together, ( and not only your writings about Nature ), and you would only have to make small corrections… A book like that would be great.
        And I am sure there would be lots and lots of publishers eager for the chance to publish such a book.
        Love
        M

  2. Pingback: Nearly there…. | lizkingsangster

  3. DRAMATIC occurrences! Life. Death. Challenges to becoming skillful. Real consequences.

    Don’t really need a photo to get the picture! ;D

    You give your blog audience a glimpse into your life on the land-and into your imagination Clive!

    • Thank you, Cosima. It’s not possible to live in the countryside without being acutely aware of the daily struggles of the natural world. Everywhere there is beauty to capture the spirits and make them soar. But death is never far away for wild creatures, and their endings are often cruel.

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