Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nesting Curlews and La Rocque and Roll

Sound. I often talk about the things I see but not as often the things I hear around me. I was obliged to think about sound recently by two disparate events--but life is never a tidy narrative.

Curlews are large birds, so I discovered. Although normally wading birds, they come a long way from water to nest. All this I discovered first by happy accident--a large curlew-beaked bird was walking in the gawky way of a land bound heron in the field above the house. Could it be a curlew? Well, off to find the bird book. Sure enough curlews are big--at least by the time they are ready for romance and reproduction--this guy is nearly as big as a pheasant. He can give my getting- tamer-every-day-farm cats a run for their money.

The bird book explained that the smaller curlew-beaked bird (a 5-7 inch skinny beak bent slightly down in case you don't have a bird book close by) is a whimbrel. Whimbrel is a word that needs to be said aloud for the fun of the tickle. It reminded me of a young woman years ago whose favourite word was wimple. I ownder where she is now and if she remembers that was once her favourite word.

I have a fondness for curlews because my daughter's birth announcement sported a water colour arctic curlew--Inuit art. Every time I see a curlew I think of her. Because I am so far away that now makes me happy-sad as so many recollections do.

OK back to sound--if I had heard what a curlew says I might have picked another card. The call is supposed to be something like coo e loo or some such, but it had another intriguing entry made in passing about their "wild whistling". I heard that wild whistling his morning. More of them have wandered away from their pond to the nesting grounds so there is now quite a chorus. I cannot begin to replicate that here. You will just have to find your own curlew and have a listen.

The other sound event is trying to get Skype to work. I have faffed about with settings and plugs and Wizards--of the electronic variety--and I can hear things, the message that tells me my microphone doesn't work, for example, but I can also hear music on the computer which had not been working for some time. Hence, I am listening to one of my favourite CDs from my previous life.

Indianapolis has an annual early music festival. It had been going on for years--a handful of people put it on and over the years it grew a faithful audience. Even though Indianapolis is not a cultural hub, early music groups loved to come there for the festival because after many years there was a dedicated and knowledgeable audience. So La Rocque and Roll is the title of a CD by Baltimore Consort, subtitled, "popular music of Renaissance France." It was worth faffing with the settings to hear this again.


At 3:59 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

"faffing" - as much fun to say as "whimple" and I've never heard it before - I like it!

Have not heard a curlew, at least to know it. Have been encouraged by the chorus of sounds I can't differentiate yet - winter had the silence of death here, very unpleasant. Now there is a constant undercurrent, a blended chorus that forms a background "hum" to all of the sounds recognized as birds or insects. I don't know yet what all I'm listening to, but I'm loving it!

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Ruan Peat said...

My fave word is defenestration, the art of being thrown out of the window.
I am learning sign language and like any other language it is easy to get basics and much harder to learn more fully. The idea of being unable to hear, or loseing my hearing scares me, I have been listening to all the world around me with more awareness than I used to have. I am not looseing my hearing but just the fear is enough.
I also listen to the owl at night who hangs out round my house, though I find I have less birds now as my cat is teaching my kitten to climb trees!

At 10:26 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh Hayden and Ruan I love those words altho defenestration has those kind of sinister overtones in its meaning.

Snow today and blowing--too noisy.


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