Flying south in (Southern Hemisphere) spring

Love in springtime

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;

In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove

In the Spring a young [bird’s] fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

 from Locksley Hall by Alfred Tennyson (with apologies to AT for the edit)

 locksley hall

This edition WB Conkey & Co, 1900

 Image at

Returning birds

It’s springtime on the south coast of Western Australia. Birds that headed to the warm north of the state for winter are coming home to Denmark to breed; this week spotted pardalotes, fan-tailed cuckoos and tree martins were back in the garden. Dusky swallows should be next: the grand old karri – a eucalypt where they’ve nested for years – is waiting.

Spotted-Pardalote birdlifeSpotted pardalote Pardalotus punctatus

Image at

Listen to the spotted pardalote:

An etymology of pardalotes

Imagine that one day

̶ perhaps a fine spring day like this –

a leopard changed its spots.

Fur smoothed into feathers,

flew continents; that rumbling purr raised

into some other lighter, higher note.

Look where the leaves are moving:

there it is, something spotted,

hidden in the trees.

from Things Turned Upside Down, Picaro Press, 2011

Calling for attention

Recordings of and more information about the spotted pardalote, fan-tailed cuckoo and dusky woodswallow at

 Fan-tailed cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis

Image at

Dusky-WoodswallowsDusky woodswallows Artamus cyanopterus

Image at

At home overhead

Watch tree martins nesting:


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