The End of Winter…

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It was a wonderfully sunny day at the very end of winter, heralding the start of an unusually early spring. Algy perched on a rock in the cool afternoon sunshine and gazed at the waves rolling in to the small bay beneath his cliff-side nest. Masses of cloud were building up over the islands to the north, and Algy knew that the fine weather wouldn’t last long, but he was determined to enjoy every minute of it while he could…

Encounter on the Hill

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Algy had a strange encounter on the hill last week…

Shortly after this photo was taken, the black coo cautiously approached Algy, one step at a time, evidently unsure what this strange creature might be. Eventually the coo came close enough to reach out and discover whether a fluffy bird was something a hielan’ coo could eat… Of course Algy knew that coos do not eat birds, but nevertheless he thought it prudent to consider the “encounter” at an end at that point, and fly away to a safer spot where he could not be munched by a large, hairy animal 🙂

An Ideal Perch by the Seaside :)

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The ground was so damp and slimy, not to mention cold, that Algy looked around for another perch nearby, and soon found a splendid seat among a collection of nautical paraphernalia which the humans had left lying about the place. When the wind blew – as it did most of the time – it was almost as good as a swing, and although Algy found it a wee bit tricky to keep his balance and avoid tumbling off when the stronger gusts took him by surprise, he enjoyed himself immensely… until it started to rain again.

Algy hopes that you will all enjoy a colourful, entertaining, and very happy Sunday 🙂

By the Orange Buoy…

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It was too altogether too slimy on the jetty, as well as being uncomfortably exposed to the wind, so Algy hopped over to a grassy patch on the foreshore and tucked himself down behind a large orange buoy. Dark showers were sweeping across the sky at regular intervals, but in between the downpours the sun lit up the world with a beautiful, stormy light, and Algy decided to watch it until the next icy squall swept in from the sea…

On the Jetty…

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It was low tide, more or less. Algy flew over to the jetty where the humans did things with boats, perched cautiously on the cold, slippery surface, and turned his back to the freezing wind. It was rather a slimy spot, so Algy didn’t think that he would care to stop there long, but he liked to watch the shimmering light on the shallow water and wet sand…

Des Menschen Seele Gleicht dem Wasser

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Algy flew down to the Sound and perched in a gorse bush already covered in February gold. It was a stormy day, with rapidly alternating phases of darkness and light, and many heavy showers were sweeping in along the Sound from the open ocean. Algy was thinking of some of his friends, who were threatened by dark storm clouds in their own lives, and as he watched the next wave of clouds approach he sang one of his favourite “songs” for them:

Des Menschen Seele
Gleicht dem Wasser:
Vom Himmel kommt es,
Zum Himmel steigt es,
Und wieder nieder
Ewig wechselnd

The human soul
is like water:
it comes from heaven,
it rises to heaven,
and again it must descend to earth
in an eternal alternation.

Listen to this beautiful recording of Gesang der Geister über den Wassern in a setting by Schubert, performed by the Vienna Vocalists and the String Ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

[Algy is singing part of Gesang der Geister über den Wassern (The Song of the Spirit over the Waters) by the late 18th/early 19th century German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. You can read the full text of the poem in German and English, but Algy feels that the English translation given there does not do full justice to the original.]

Bolt and Bar the Shutter…

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The wind howled across the sea, driving battering waves of dense Scotch mist and drenching rain onto the already sodden land. Algy retreated to the shelter of a wee cave which had formed beneath the rocks at the edge of the beach and tried to make himself comfortable. It was pleasantly dry in there, although hard on the tail feathers, but there was little to do by way of amusement except to watch the weather hurtling past outside and listen to the roaring of the wind. As he gazed at his toes, Algy remembered the first verse of a famous poem:

Bolt and bar the shutter,
For the foul winds blow:
Our minds are at their best this night,
And I seem to know
That everything outside us is
Mad as the mist and snow.

[Algy is quoting the first verse of the poem Mad as the Mist and Snow by the late 19th/early 20th century Irish poet William Butler Yeats.]