02/06/22 • 29 min
This week we have been joined by a solitary stranger from the north. Probably blown south-west on last week’s northerly storm winds a wigeon has arrived. The appearance of this diminutive figure prompts us to find out a little more about this little duck and we discover his place in the legend of the Seven Whistlers and its association with the end of the world (but, perhaps, not as we know it).
“4h February, Friday.
The thermometer falls with the waking sun
and the spirit seems to shrivel with the cold.
Then the Bearley rooks take flight from their inky roost;
assured blue-black wings beat the blood-red raging dawn.
The body feels smaller;
the spirit larger.”
In this episode I refer to the following books:
Edward A Armstrong's (1958) The Folklore of Birds (Collins New Naturalist Library 39) published by Collins.
BB (2008) The Naturalist’s Bedside Book published by Merlin Unwin Books.
Stefan Buczacki’s (2002) Fauna Britannica published by Hamlyn
Walter Černy’s (2000) Field Guide in Colour to British Birds published by Silverdale Books.
Rob Hume (2007) RSPB Complete Birds of Britain and Europe (revised edn.) published by Dorling Kindersley.
Recording of Wigeon calls by Stanislas Wroza on 01.01.2022 at Radonvilliers, Aube, Grand Est, France and downloaded from the xeno-canto site. Full recording details and credits:
Stanislas Wroza, XC695711. Accessible at www.xeno-canto.org/695711.
In the intro and the outro, Saint-Saen's The Swan is performed by Karr and Bernstein (1961) and available on CC at archive.org.
Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River Weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to Freesound.org on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence.
Piano and keyboard interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.
All other audio recorded on si
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