As we left the beach on Dawlish Warren, walked up onto the Bight, the incessant trilling and fluting song of the skylarks filled the air around us.
Dropping down into a small open hollow, we lay ourselves down on the mossy scrubland and gazed up into the bluest of skies, where we soon saw and heard skylarks on the wing, high above our heads.
We watched them fall out of the sky, dropping down, still singing, wings flapping as they dived … then seeming to stop in mid air, hovering for several seconds, the song louder now, they gently glided to the ground.
One’s and two’s perched on dead stalks and twiggy shrubs to give a magnificent performance of full song.
This exhibition of sky diving accompanied by their amazing songs continued for another two hours! A great day out!
Illustration & Text: Hazel Brown
Chirpy little families of sparrows seen on Dawlish Warren and in the back garden.
The little female at the end of the vid is about as cute as cute can be.
Female sparrows are sweeter seeming than the grumpier looking males.
Filming: Hazel Brown; Vid: Ian Nisbet
Not just one linnet. But 2 linnets. On Dawlish Warren.
Ivor Cutlers girlfriend Phyllis King wrote a little poem about a linnet.
Sky fragile as ancient porcelain
Slender a pale bird on a bramble
Still as evening air
A linnet I breathe
Knowing only the sparrow by sight
What bird so perfect
Could have another name?
(From the Ivor Cutler album- Jammy Smears)
We made a little vid about this Linnet poem on our other blog 3 years ago.
Vid: Ian Nisbet
We picked this up on Dawlish Warren sands.
No idea what it was. Small, fragile, delicate. Intriguing.
Turns out its a ‘Heart Urchin’. Or to give it its more prosaic name ‘sea potato’.
Here’s an heart urchin still alive.
And looking kind of ‘urchin-like’ in that picture.
The paper-thin casing (we found) is what remains of the heart urchin in its ‘test’ form.
There were dozens of them on the beach. Casualities of the storms that blew across the Bay back in March possibly.
We collected 3, but 2 didn’t survive the vagaries of my trouser pocket and were crushed into fine particles.
This one, fortunately still in tact, sits on the windowsill in Haze’s kitchen.
(PS: The stitch-like threading vaguely reminds me of the American softballs my mom used to sow together back in the 70’s)
Laid out flat on our backs on a sunny Saturday afternoon in the middle of the Bight on Dawlish Warren, watching and filming skylarks.
This one obligingly stood on a stalk
And from about 50 feet away, let us film him singing
We pointed cameras up at the skylarks as they sang high above us, vainly attempting to follow them as they fell out the sky; but couldn’t get clear film of the exhiliration we were seeing.
We stuck at it all sunny afternoon long. Stayed still, stayed patient, as one after another of these skylarking skylarkers came flying and falling onto the scrubby buddleia bushes around where we lay.
Enthralling. Utterly delightful.
Skylarking: Hazel Brown & Ian Nisbet
“Yoo in the
doghouse – sorry – horsehouse yoo am Mister!”
“Yes! – I talkin to yoo Bobbie blinkin Charlton!”
“What I done now?! I had a long difficult day of very poor self-esteem”
“Don’t get cross wiv I please!”
“I will! I bleddy told you till I’s blue in face to get TOOFPASTE FROM PONYSHOP!!!”
“But wood you lissen? Deff as a POST!. Hey! Where yoo trottin off to now Whitey?!!
“Not bloomin listenin to any more of yore Big Mouff! – I OFF!
Bluetailed damselflies are dancing about on Dawlish Warren this afternoon.
And we were there.
To quietly cheer them on.
Vid: Ian Nisbet; Bacon & Tomato Sandwich Munching: Hazel Brown