View from my favourite step

View from my favourite step


This is written in response to the latest prompt from the Grow Write Guild – the theme is what your garden sounds like. If you click on the link on the bird names you will hear what I hear.

For me the optimum gardening time is early evening when everyone else is busy with dinner, going out whatever.  At this time it seems I have the neighbourhood to myself – no lawnmowers, no strimmers, no children playing.

I sit quietly on the bottom step, my favourite place and listen.

The air is dominated by the strident high-pitched whistling song of the blackbird.  He warbles in a variety of notes and if you listen very carefully you can hear another blackbird answering him.  Such a hard sound to describe but its one I love and could listen to all evening.

Behind it is the softer trill of robins, we are visited by at least two on a daily basis and they have such sweet voices.  Gentle and reassuring not as demanding and strident as the blackbird.  Between them the air is full of sound.  If you close your eyes and relax it is almost deafening.

But now there is another sound, this time a man-made one, the soft but persistent drone of a car travelling along the nearby road on its way up the hills.  It is muffled and pushed to the background by the birds – nature winning out over man.

The blackbird and robin are occasionally joined by other birds I can’t recognise possibly thrush, starling, blue and great tit – all visit the garden regularly.  The one I do recognise is the dull coo of the wood pigeon accompanied by its clumsy flapping around the large prunus tree I sit under.  For me this is a sound I associated with an evening in the garden – soft, repetitive and familiar, almost hypnotic.

Other sounds sometimes pierce the bird song – the slam of a car door, the bark of a dog, the squawk of my near neighbours chicken and sometimes the call of a cuckoo but the birds always win.

This is my favourite soundtrack to the garden, its personal, private and very special.


10 Comments on “Listen

  1. I also love birds in the garden – Last winter there was a NZ wide bird count for an hour. Can’t remember hour many were in my Mt Eden garden, maybe 46! Here on the Whangapararoa Peninsular an hour out from Auckland and surounded by water there are gulls of course, but here there are swallows, sparrows, wax eyes, fan tails, the horrible Indian myna, eastern rosseas, lots of blackbirds after the neighbrours olives, pukekoes strutting around on their red legs after fallen apples, finches, ducks down the paddock, thrushes, and of course our magnificient tui. Hope I haven’t left our – yes yellow hammers. Haven’t heard the morepork at night yet. Weather ‘bitty’ bit of (lots) of rain, sun, wind – no wind cloud coolish, warm. Autumn in Auckland!

  2. Now that the light comes earlier I stop each morning before leaving the house and I spend 20 minutes or so sitting in the porch swing listening to the birds; what a wonderful way to start the day. You post today is a special treasure thank you for putting so much effort into sharing something that is so special.

  3. Charlie’s last sentence takes the words out of my mouth Helen. Your writing transported me to that bottom step and I could hear those sounds in my head. Early on weekend mornings is my special listening time.

  4. Helen my favorite time is early in the morning as the bird song gets started as dawn breaks and no one is up and around outside….I loved hearing your birds’ songs!

  5. I have to admit that my favourite time is in the early morning before anyone else is up, the dawn chorus is amazing.We have the same birds that you do, it was good to hear them on your post!

  6. I sit on the back doorstep and eat my porridge in the mornings, that’s when I listen.

  7. Thanks for this post Helen, reminding us not to take this sound for granted – I don’t think our garden is ever silent as the blackbird in particular seems to survive on very little sleep! Although we are on the rural fringe it always amazes me how few extraneous sounds there are here, even in school holidays, and it is lovely to hear sheep too when the wind is in the right direction.

  8. I think we all probably have a favourite place where we listen to our garden, a step a bench, a tree. Sounds can catch you anytime your outside and listening. Like you I can never identify everything I hear!

  9. The birds around my bedroom window in the morning are sheer madness, each seems like it’s trying to outdo it’s neighbor! But I’ve never listened in the evening, I’ve always been one of the busy ones. You give me something to look forward to tonight.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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