This is a twite - will YOU be able to recognise it when u r next out on them thar hills?!
If you've been reading this blog, you'll probably remember my great excitement at meeting the splendid Charlotte Weightman who is busy with the Twite Recovery Project on the Pennine moors. We hit it off big time, so, since then, I have been busy working on a poem about her beloved Twite (singular and plural are both Twite).
I sent her the result late yesterday, and this is the delightful reply she's just sent me:
Just this moment read this, Char! How absolutely wonderful! It made me smile, laugh out loud, feel deeply nostalgic and tug at my heart with a great tenderness for this little bird's bravery.
I will so look forward to hearing it read aloud.
I'm quite sure that never before has this bird had a whole poem written about it. I, on the Twite's behalf, feel deeply honoured. I was intrigued as to where you'd got the associations from - many I recognised from our discussion, many were self explanatory when you know
about the bird, many were just....lovely!
Fab, many thanks. I'll let you know where it goes to!
I always love getting feedback from my readers - and when it's as joyful as this, it's utterly FAB!
Charlotte inspired me to write it in the structure I have chosen because she gave me such a wonderful mass of info about the bird's habitat, nesting and eating habits, migration, origins, etc etc, and clearly was soooo passionate about it. Until then, I had just considered it yet another smallbrownjob that I would never be able to identify! Anyway, I love being triggered off by someone else's passion - whether it is for making the perfect artifical hip joints (I worked with Thackray engineers capturing their stories about this), or collecting stamps on letters that have been brought up from wrecked ships (a friend of mine is the world expert on this!). So, when Charlotte said she was thinking of asking people to come up with the best collective noun for twite, I was hooked.
If (when!) you come to the Cliffe Castle exhibition, you will be able to hear me reading the twite poem - intercut (hopefully) with the delightful 'zwai-eeeet' chattering of the twite themselves. But since I know you just can't possibly last that long without bursting in anticipation (!), here it is:
An A to Z of twite
A seed pod
A Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz – for even
smallbrownjobs have to sleep sometimes
This is NOT a twite!
I stalked this poor little bird for about 5 min's (with a long lens) on a hay meadow up from my house, then proudly sent the photo of my 'twite' to Charlotte who said (very nicely!): "It's a meadow pipit - easily confused."
The photos at the top and bottom of this blog-post are by the excellent photographer Tim Melling who works on the Twite Recovery Project - you can see loads of his gorgeous photos on Flickr. Thanks for letting me use these shots, Tim - otherwise readers could have been waiting a VERY long time b4 I got a shot of a dear wee twite!
This IS a twite - eating one of its fav foods - dandelion seeds.
Char March - I'm a freelance writer and tutor. I am Writer-in-Residence for the Pennine Watershed Project, and this blog takes you through some of the work I've done in that role