Friday, March 22, 2013

In pursuit of singing birds

Yesterday in Regent's Park, I walked up to a British man who was sitting on a bench. We exchanged hellos, then I asked if he knew the name of the elusive bird that I could hear but not see, despite much lurking about the neatly shaped shrubbery. (Regent's Park, I found, is more classical when it comes to garden design and layout than is Hyde Park.) 

He smiled with a wry expression. "I think—not sure about it at all, so don't take my word for it, but I think it's a chaffinch." 

I thanked him and then sat down on my own bench to Google chaffinch songs. The nice man (I want to call him a chap and impress you with my Britishisms, ha) got up from his bench to leave the park, and as he walked past me he chuckled at the bird sounds emanating from my iPad. 

He paused a moment. "I think I also hear a blackbird," he added.

"Yes! I thought one sounded like a blackbird, too."

We smiled, and he walked on, and I tried to determine if the bird I heard singing in real life matched the songs of the blackbird and chaffinch I was hearing on YouTube. The results were inconclusive. But the brief cultural exchange between park admirers was welcome.

Below, many photos of trees, which you'll have to put up with throughout the course of this trip because I am a dryad at heart. Many of them undulate they're dancing. Even more than trees usually do. And also, this is the first time I've ever seen a pigeon hanging out in a tree. They must do it all the time, but I've just never seen it before and it made me giggle.

P.S. I picked up that bottle and threw it in the trash—now a truly international litter vigilante!

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