Diary of a Young Naturalist – The Sedge Warbler

11.05.18 – A beautiful sunny evening

The evening light was hazy with midges, revelling irritatingly all around. Suddenly, punching above the weight of every other song among the reeds and trees, a Sedge Warbler sang. It permeated the air space so emphatically, I stopped to listen. A moment later, a conversation began between barbed wire and willow branch perchers. One in the shade, the other choosing light. Its chirpyness sings in song all the giddy amazement I feel when I’m out in nature.

I wonder sometimes, how other people feel. If they sense the privilege of hearing a bird like the Sedge Warbler, who has travelled, often in one continuous flight, from the Sahara; to grace the summer with its crackling excitement.

Edward Thomas sums it up perfectly in the last verse of The Sedge Warblers, a poet who fitted a lifetime’s worth of poetry in two years. He died during the First World War. He had the heart and soul of a well tuned naturalist:

Their song that lacks all words, all melody. All sweetness almost, was dearer to me Than sweetest voice that sings in tune sweet words. This was the best of May, the small brown birds. Wisely reiterating endlessly What no man learnt in or out of school

Thanks for the lovely response to the idea of this diary!

Have a wild weekend


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8 Responses

  1. Sometimes I manage to immerse myself in nature as a youngster would, but I think ‘life education’ has tended to dull this response… it wasn’t ‘trendy’ but ‘childish’ and discouraged from an early age. Now, however, things are changing, for the better! Reading your blog, Dara, is an excellent way of retrieving that wonder, and young people are able to retain that feeling into adult life. So a big thank you from us oldies! Really enjoying your poetic descriptions.

    1. So true, Mairi. My mum reports the same. She said her wonder retuned when she became a parent, she could act as childish as she wanted with little ones around. She’ll never lose it again – she gets more excited than all of us put together! ???? Thank you so much for all your encouragement ☺️

  2. What a delightful post 🙂 I am hopeless at identifying bird song, but I can certainly enjoy it. And when it comes to warblers, I struggle to tell them apart. This morning I was out walking and alerted a bevy of what I thought were chaffinches but quickly realised were stonechats. Lovely start to the day!

  3. Thank you for this entry Dara, there’s something very comforting about it. Perhaps I am still on a high from a concert I was at last night where some of the ‘warblers were as young as yourself.

    This is the best time Although not yet quite May The trees are full of promise
    This is the best time A day is waiting to be born Vibrant and full of gleaming
    This is the best time Before the light, the noon day’s heat
    The petal’s succulence, the bees.
    This is the best time Before the bud unfurls Before hope can decay
    This is the best time The wind will soon go west And all the day ‘s in prospect.
    Iarla Mongey Snr..

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