Proof of life

Wanted alive

In New Zealand, birders are searching for the maybe (or maybe not) extinct orange-wattled South Island kakapo.

 

Buller Kokako.jpg

South & North Island Kokakos

By J. G. Keulemans, in W.L. Buller’s A History of the Birds of New Zealand, 2nd edition, published 1888 Image courtesy of http://www.commons.wikimedia.org

More about the elusive South Island kokako at http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-38757748

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead

I don’t know if you’re alive or dead –
Can you be found on earth so?
Or only in twilit thoughts instead,
Be mourned, in that peaceful glow?

All for you: the prayer by day,
The hot sleeplessness at night,
The white flock of poetry,
And the blue fire of my eyes…

from I don’t know if you’re alive or dead, by Anna Akhmatova

 

New wings in Singapore

Patrolling Petrel

A new sighting for Singapore, with the fly-by of Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii.

Image result for bulwer's petrel in flight

Image at http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

See the Singapore Bird Report for November at https://singaporebirdgroup.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/singapore-bird-report-november-2016/

Petrel poetry:

A pre-revolutionary parody from Russia stars the Stormy petrel.

 

Stormy Petrel by John Audubon

The Song of the Stormy Petrel
Up above the sea’s grey flatland, wind is gathering the clouds. In between the sea and clouds proudly soaring the Petrel, reminiscent of black lightning.
Glancing a wave with his wingtip, like an arrow dashing cloudward, he cries out and the clouds hear his joy in the bird’s cry of courage.
In this cry — thirst for the tempest! Wrathful power, flame of passion, certainty of being victorious the clouds hear in that bird’s cry.
Seagulls groan before the tempest, – groan, and race above the sea, and on its bottom they are ready to hide their fear of the storm.
And the loons are also groaning, – they, the loons, they cannot access the delight of life in battle: the noise of the clashes scares them.
The dumb penguin shyly hiding his fat body in the crevice . . . It is only the proud Petrel who soars ever bold and freely over the sea grey with sea foam!
Ever darker, clouds descending ever lower over the sea, and the waves are singing, racing to the sky to meet the thunder.
Thunder sounds. In foamy anger the waves groan, with wind in conflict. Now the wind firmly embraces flocks of waves and sends them crashing on the cliffs in wild fury, smashing into dust and seaspray all these mountains of emerald.
And the Petrel soars while crying, reminiscent of black lightning, like an arrow piercing the clouds, with his wing rips foam from the waves.
So he dashes, like a demon, – proud, black demon of the tempest, – and he’s laughing and he’s weeping . . . it is at the clouds he’s laughing, it is with his joy he’s weeping!
In the fury of the thunder, the wise demon hears his weakness, but he’s certain that the clouds will not hide the sun – won’t hide it!
The wind howls . . . the thunder rolls . . .
Like a blue flame, flocks of clouds blaze up above the sea’s abyss. The sea catches bolts of lightning drowning them beneath its waters. Just like serpents made of fire, they weave in the water, fading, the reflections of this lightning.
-Tempest! Soon will strike the tempest!
That is the courageous Petrel proudly soaring in the lightning over the sea’s roar of fury; cries of victory the prophet:
-Let the tempest come strike harder!

by Maxim Gorky

translation and image at wikipedia.org

 

Words for birds

Creative conservation

Poetry magazine The Rialto, in collaboration with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Birdlife International and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, invites submissions for the 2017 Nature and Place poetry competition.

rialto

More about each organisation at therialto.co.uk; rspb.org.uk; birdlife.org; conservation.cam.ac.uk

More about the competition at the link here:

NATURE AND PLACE POETRY COMPETITION 2017

Back from the breeding grounds

Sojourners return to Singapore

 

great-knot-fyap

The globally endangered Great Knot was spotted at Seletar Dam and photographed by Francis Yap in mid-August.

More about these early birds at https://singaporebirdgroup.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/singapore-bird-report-august-2016/

Life on the wing: the Great Knot

This bird’s a traveller, summers

in north-eastern Siberia,

winters in southern China

and has vagrants that fly to Australia…

from ‘The Great Knot’ by Robert Adamson

Salt pan stopover

Seriously special sandpipers:

In March 2014, Flightpathproject visited the salt pans of Pak Thale in Thailand, to look for – and find! – the critically endangered Spoon-billed sandpiper: see https://flightpathproject.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/seriously-special-sandpipers/

Pak Thale is a vital staging ground on the sandpipers’ way to breed in Kamchatka, in the far east of Russia.

Image at wikipedia.com

Protection for the salt pans:

By the end of 2016, the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand is hoping to buy, manage and  conserve the threatened salt pans for spoonies – and for the hundreds of thousands of other shorebirds – that use Pak Thale annually.

For more about the project see http://www.bcst.or.th/?page_id=4755&lang=en

 

index

Home away from home:

After a long flightpath – from Russia via London Heathrow to Gloucestershire, England – watch Spoon-billed sandpiper chicks hatch at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust http://www.wwt.org.uk

 

Winging it through the world

World Shorebirds Day 2016

The global count of shorebirds will be from 2 to 2 September. More information at https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/global-shorebird-counting-2016-registration/

In 2014, participants were invited to sketch the birds they saw; see some of the results at https://worldshorebirdsday.wordpress.com/programs/sketching-artists/2014-shorebird-arts/

image2 stiltsBlack-winged stilts in Japan by Narisa Togo

 

Shore Birds

While I think of them they are growing rare
after the distances they have followed
all the way to the end for the first time
tracing a memory they did not have
until they set out to remember it
at an hour when all at once it was late
and newly silent and the white had turned
white around them then they rose in their choir
on a single note each of them alone
between the pull of the moon and the hummed
undertone of the earth below them
the glass curtains kept falling around them
as they flew in search of their place before
they were anywhere and storms winnowed them
they flew among the places with towers
and passed the tower lights where some vanished
with their long legs for wading in shadow
others were caught and stayed in the countries
of the nets and in the lands of lime twigs
some fastened and after the countries of
guns at first light fewer of them than I
remember would be here to recognize
the light of late summer when they found it
playing with darkness along the wet sand

by WS Merwin

Writing Life

Listen to WS Merwin speak about words in the world: