Sweet April Birding


With thee the swallow dares to come

And primes his sutty wings

And urged to seek their yearly home

Thy suns the Martin brings

And lovley month be leisure mine

Thy yearly mate to be

Tho may day scenes may brighter shine

Their birth belongs to thee

John Clare

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallow (click on any photo to zoom)

So much has happened since I left the Chesapeake region 3 weeks ago.  The Tree Swallows, Forster’s Terns, Chipping Sparrows, and Osprey have returned and the Canada Geese have left.  I still heard one White-throated Sparrow in the underbrush, but he was nearly drowned out by the cacophony of other morning calls. The symphony includes the continuous trill of the sparrow, the endless repertoire of the mimics, and the territorial postings of the blackbirds and Osprey along the creek.


Brown Thrasher

The early morning walk was just perfect.  The new leaves have their varied hues of light green, the air is still cool, the slanting light just right for photography, and the smell of wet dirt and fresh blossoms makes me agree with Clare’s “sweet april”.  Most of these photos were taken on that late April walk.

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow


Male Red-winged Blackbird staking out the territory


while female Red-winged blackbird works at nest-building


Northern Cardinal

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird, likely celebrating the laying of an egg in another bird’s nest.

House Finch

House Finch


Osprey with one more stick for the nest

Thou lovley april fare thee well

Thou early child of spring

Tho born where storms too often dwell

Thy parents news to bring

Yet what thy parting youth supplys

No other months excell

Thou first for flowers and sunny skyes

Sweet april fare thee well

                                                                                                                   John Clare

The two verses by John Clare are from The Shepherd’s Calendar chapter entitled “April”, first published in 1827. The work was compiled and edited by Eric Robinson and Geoffrey Summerfield, and republished by Oxford Press in 1964.

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