sandhills, swifts and falcons

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

I’ve just finished a book about Peregrines. You may have heard of it, it is called On The Wing by Alan Tennant. I don’t know why (and I’ve tried to work it out) but I found it incredibly hard going. The subject matter (two blokes following tagged Peregrines in a beat up Cessna) was interesting but I just couldn’t get on with the style of the writing, and for once it was a relief when the book was finished. The author can write and as I will show below has no problem connecting with nature and describing it with some merit, but the whole I found bitty. As I paid full whack for it though I felt that I should finish the damned thing. The Glasgow Herald is quoted on the cover as saying that it is an 'Ornithologist’s On The Road'. Why? Because it was hurried? Because the author bumbled about and around the subject? Becuase there are two blokes in it?  Because the follow up (The Dharma Falcons perhaps) was absolute drivel? I don’t know.

The previous post on here was regarding Swifts and their return, and I found a passage in the book that evoked similar feelings when the author talks about cranes.

Instead, I’d yearned to live out there on the vital, scary edge of the lives they led. Lives larger, older, more vital than those of the people I know, and during years when the northers [sic] held off past when the leaves had changed, and the sandhills were slow in coming I worried. But then, on some ordinary sunny day I’d hear what no one else heard – a faint, musical bugle drifting down 2,000 feet. Looking up, I’d pick out ten or twelve gray specks dotted against the blue and feel my heart clench, and soar, and make me yearn not just to go with the cranes but to be one.

A Canada Goose doing coy.


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