Cranes Fly

It was a call like crows

But not those of crows

Even on their most talkative days

When whisked up by winds

When they chitter and churr

It was more musical than crows

Deeper tones balanced by middle notes

From behind the hedgerows

Beyond the browned ancient oaks

Low to the grey horizon

A stretched vee

Approximately formed

Unbalanced, but sharply led

Three, five, seven, nine in clear formation

With forty, fifty, sixty more

Lagging loosely in lines

Heading south

Warning of winter’s coming

Or dragging down

Its icy curtain?

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CLP 01/12/2019

November 17

This drab, dull day

Its natural sounds subdued by drizzle

Are cut through by her sharp cry above

Kehwee! Kehwee!

To her mate unseen, but somewhere near

Stirred up, crows lift from dark hearts of oaks

Gather as a loose assembled mob

A flight of five, or six, or more

Rough circle spreading, all alert

Seeking out the closing threat

Her superior gliding flight now disturbed

Rattling croaks at her wings and tail

She adjusts direction with a flicker

Stretches primaries to the furthest tips

And across the tree-marked hedgerows she slips

Sharply scanning the long-since mown

Damp pastures that spiral below

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CLP 17/11/2019

On Branches

Stripped trees glisten

Droplets swell then fall from twigs

Chirrups of blue tits

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n.b. Despite the buffeting gale that has persisted throughout the night and intensified with day-break, the blue tits https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/blue-tit/carry on their busy lives regardless.

Without cover, due to the autumn leaf fall, these stop-start little birds whizz from tree to hedge and back again in short, nippy flights. The filthy weather, whose deep roar fills the space behind this gloomy sky, is cut by short, bright ribbons of the blue tits’ cheerful cheeping. Not a tuneful call, but bright and optimistic. Autumn allows us to be able to hear and see this small, quirky bird at its best.

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CLP 26/10/2019