Birds of a feather

Before too long it will be time for the back end, which is what they call autumn in some northern English dialects that are predicted to disappear within 20 years. Using “fall” for autumn, which I thought was a pragmatic invention of the Americans, is actually from an English dialect spoken in the southwest, I guess that is Devon and Cornwall, but it has already largely disappeared. Most tragic is the decline of words to describe snail, such as “Dod-man”, “hodmedod”, “hoddy-dod”, “hoddy-doddy”, which have faded from the English language over the last century. (according to this interesting article on disappearing words and dialects in The Times)

But for now

as the breeding season ends, many birds go into moult and are rarely seen or heard. This year’s fledglings acquire their first set of adult feathers, while adult birds shed their year-old plumage — often quite bedraggled — and grow out a new set, ready for the rigours of winter, or migration. Some birds, such as ducks and geese, relocate to longstanding, safe sites where they congregate to moult; others simply skulk around under bushes and hedges. Losing feathers can render birds flightless, making them vulnerable to predators; providing good “moulting habitat” may be as important as secure nesting sites. (from Nature Notes )

Even though a significant proportion of what they publish is absolute rubbish (it is a Murdoch paper after all) I am glad to have at least partial access to The Times back (thanks to, although Nature Notes is always free (you just have to know where to find it → Click on 'Show More' in Comment and scroll up). It's just not the same without Derwent May.

😥 Requiescat.