Set all the birds free

Quirky birds

Rediscover (and reappropriate) the spirit of Christmas, courtesy of UA Fanthorpe and the Quaker Tapestry

From the 'Ecology' panel

From the ‘Ecology’ panel


Dear True Love

Leaping and dancing

Means to-ing and fro-ing;

Drummers and pipers –

Loud banging and blowing;

Even a pear-tree

Needs space to grow in.


Goose eggs and gold top

When I’m trying to slim?

And seven swans swimming?

Just where could they swim?


Mine is a small house,

Your gifts are grand;

One ring at a time

Is enough for this hand.


Hens, colly birds, doves –

A gastronome’s treat.

But love, did I tell you,

I’ve given up meat.


Your fairy-tale presents

Are wasted on me.

Just send me your love

And set all the birds free.

by UA Fanthorpe, 1929-2009

One of an annual series of poems illustrated by Nick Wadley, published as Christmas Poems, Enitharmon Press 2002.

Set to music by Australian Quaker Tony Noakes see

Bird notes

Birds, words and music:

A piece about about Molloy, Messiaen and the music of birds by Australian composer and broadcaster Andrew Ford at

Front-cover Molloy

Georgiana Molloy – the mind that shines.

Biography by Bernice Barry, Redgate, 2015


Catalogue of birds:

Listen to the Black-eared wheatear by Messiaen from his Catalogue d’oiseaux at


Moonflights of fancy

Magpies by Moonlight

Australian magpies (and wonderful Willy wagtails) sing through the night, by rural moonlight or urban streetlight.


 More about Maggies at

 Staircase to the moon


A marvellous monthly phenomenon in Broome, Western Australia


 Swoony Moon

Andy Williams sings Moon River – a classic song of the sixties by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961).




Lost (and found) in space

Flying into the unknown:

‘During a circuitous ten-year trek across the Solar System, Rosetta will cross the asteroid belt and travel into deep space, more than five times Earth’s distance from the Sun. Its destination will be a periodic comet known as Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko..’

Rosetta approaching comet

Rosetta approaching comet

More info and images at the European Space Agency’s website

Philae phones home:

Philae, the lander deployed by the Rosetta mission, became the first spacecraft to land on a comet in November last year. It promptly went into hibernation, but ‘woke up’ and phoned home for the first time seven months on Saturday 13 June.

philae wakes up

Image at

ET Phones Home:

See the original movie clip at

Space Odyssey becomes Space Oddity:

Watch and hear David Bowie perform the original version of Space Oddity in 1969 at

Patterns in flight

Flightpath pollination

Extrasensory perception: tiny sensors help farmers in Australia plan better food production (and help protect bees)


For more information see


Flying by the sun

Waggle dancing; a wonderful way to fix flightpaths for food



Fame is a bee

Fame is a bee.

It has a song—

It has a sting—

Ah, too, it has a wing.

Emily Dickinson

Flight of the Bumblebee

Listen to and watch  Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee here:

 One of many versions available online – this is from the 1996 movie Shine, about Australian pianist David Helfgott.










Flight by water

Afloat, adrift or drowned

Death in the Mediterranean: the least bad option for so many migrants

Image at

For background information see


The current brought a stranger yesterday,

And laid him in the sand beneath a palm,

His worn young face was partly torn away,

His eyes that saw the world no more, were calm.

We could not close his eyelids, stiff with blood –

But, oh, my brother…

from Feroke, by Laurence Hope

For those in peril on the sea:

Words for those at sea the world over, by William Whiting, written in 1860.

Listen at

Flight bite

Flightpathproject has recently returned from India, where birds are not the only flying creatures to watch – or to watch out for.

Fragile in flight; fierce when feeding


Dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti feeding

Dengue mosquito Aedes aegypti feeding

 Image at

‘India suffers particularly from dengue, especially at this time of year, after the end of its summer monsoon, when puddles of still water in cities become breeding grounds for the Aedes mosquito, the vector responsible for spreading the illness.’

 Read full article at

Flying in circles


The sound of fever

  Listen to Peggy Lee sing ‘Fever’ at


Fever 103̊

Pure? What does it mean?

The tongues of hell

Are dull, dull as the triple


Tongues of dull, fat Cerberus

Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable

Of licking clean


The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.

The tinder cries.

The indelible smell


Of a snuffed candle!

Love, love, the low smokes roll

From me like Isadora’s scarves, I’m in a fright


One scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel,

Such yellow sullen smokes

Make their own element. They will not rise,


But trundle round the globe

Choking the aged and the meek,

The weak


Hothouse baby in its crib,

The ghastly orchid

Hanging its hanging garden in the air,


Devilish leopard!

Radiation turned it white

And killed it in an hour.


Greasing the bodies of adulterers

Like Hiroshima ash and eating in.

The sin. The sin.


Darling, all night

I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.

The sheets grow heavy as a lecher’s kiss.


Three days. Three nights.

Lemon water, chicken

Water, water make me retch.


I am too pure for you or anyone.

Your body

Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern——


My head a moon

Of Japanese paper, my gold beaten skin

Infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive.


Does not my heat astound you! And my light!

All by myself I am a huge camellia

Glowing and coming and going, flush on flush.


I think I am going up,

I think I may rise——

The beads of hot metal fly, and I love, I


Am a pure acetylene


Attended by roses,


By kisses, by cherubim,

By whatever these pink things mean!

Not you, nor him


Nor him, nor him

(My selves dissolving, old whore petticoats)——

To Paradise.

 by Sylvia Plath