Up, The 'Hatch
Hawfinches have been seen feeding on yew berries in Bramfield churchyard so I decided to go for a gentle ride along pretty Hertfordshire single tracks to investigate. There was a little gaggle of birders in the churchyard with their bins trained on the yews. I had read that these rare and elusive birds are sometimes seen on trees in the garden of the old rectory opposite so I directed my long lens at the top of a tall oak in beautiful light. No hawfinches but I got a lovely nuthatch. :)
Nuthatches are plump little birds a bit like woodpeckers. Their name comes from nut-hacker, they jam nuts in crevices and hammer them. They also used to be known as mud-dabblers as they like to plaster the entrances to their nest holes with mud. They're able to climb down tree trunks head first. I've never heard one call but evidently they 'skreek' very loudly according to John Clare. Like a wolf-whistle it is said.
Today's poem is Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46560/dulce-et-decorum-est
"It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. Sweet and decorous!" The old lie. A very graphic description of the horror of war addressed to Jessie Pope, a pro-war poet. Owen suffered with shell-shock and died aged only twenty-five. Very sobering reading. We will remember them.