The First Song of the Skylark


Although it was heavily overcast at times, with a nasty tendency to sudden downpours of rain or sleet, it was glorious when the sun managed to escape from the clouds for a while. So Algy flew on towards the woodlands, and found himself an open spot on the hillside. The ground still felt very cold and unpleasantly damp, so he stretched himself out along a half-broken limb of a massive old oak tree, and indulged in a wee bit of early spring sunbathing. Suddenly, from high in the blue above him, he heard that wonderful prelude to spring… the first song of a skylark…

Algy hopes that even if you are not able to hear a skylark, you will all be able to find some sunshine this weekend 🙂




Algy hopped over to a denser patch of Marram grass, and made himself comfortable on a bed of the long, curving stems. It felt almost warm, tucked in there among the dry grasses of the sand dunes, and Algy began to doze happily in the sunshine, while the waves played merrily on the beach in front of him.



Algy put down his book of poetry for a moment and gazed at the scene in front of him, then looked up at the sky. It was BLUE! A beautiful, clear, deep, wonderful blue…

The west coast of the Scottish Highlands experiences more dismal, grey, totally overcast and cloudy skies than most places in the world, but when the clouds do blow away Algy feels an amazing sense of relief, and a delightfully happy experience of blueness. He cannot understand why the colour blue has come to be associated with misery and depression when a clear blue sky and a deep blue sea are among the most beautiful aspects of the world 🙂

Algy hopes you will all have a happily blue weekend xo

There was a fierce and bitter north-east wind howling across the headland, and the temperature was only just above freezing, but the sea was a beautiful sea-green-blue, and the surf was a dazzling white. So Algy flew out to a rock just off shore and flattened himself against the cold stone to shelter from the wind. As the waves surged and crashed all around him in the early spring sunshine, he thought of one of his favourite sea poems:

It keeps eternal whisperings around
   Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
   Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often ‘tis in such gentle temper found,
   That scarcely will the very smallest shell
   Be moved for days from where it sometime fell.
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh, ye! who have your eyeballs vexed and tired,
   Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
       Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,
   Or fed too much with cloying melody—
       Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

Algy hopes you will all have a happy weekend, even if it is still very cold in your area, and perhaps some of you will be lucky enough to feast your eyes upon the wideness of the sea 🙂

[Algy is quoting the poem On the Sea by the early 19th century English poet John Keats.]

After the wettest winter on record in Algy’s part of the world, March also started wet and cold, with two days of persistent rain mixed with freezing ice and sleet. But the days were lengthening rapidly, darkness was being banished, and from time to time the sun actually managed to shine.

Algy flew out to one of his favourite spots on the headland, and perched on a high point where he could watch the waves breaking all around the rocky coast and skerries. It was always a wonderful sight on a fine day, and he hoped that the long, dismal winter really was more or less over, so that he could spend much more time out and about adventuring again…

The wind had strengthened during the night, and by mid-morning it had blown the mist away; at times there were even some patches of blue sky visible. It was not yet spring, but on the other hand it no longer felt like winter. Like the other birds, Algy was highly sensitive to the rapidly lengthening days and change of light. He felt a restlessness in the air, and he hurried down to the soothing sea. The wind was bitter, as usual, but it was always possible to find some shelter among the dunes, so he tucked his beak into his book of Poems of the Sea, and this is what he read:

          The people along the sand
          All turn and look one way.
          They turn their back on the land.
          They look at the sea all day.

          As long as it takes to pass
          A ship keeps raising its hull;
          The wetter ground like glass
          Reflects a standing gull.

          The land may vary more;
          But wherever the truth may be –
          The water comes ashore,
          And the people look at the sea.

          They cannot look out far.
          They cannot look in deep.
          But when was that ever a bar
          To any watch they keep?

[ Algy is reading the poem Neither Out Far Nor In Deep by the 20th century American poet Robert Frost. ]

Algy flew up to one of the higher points on the headland, so that he could get a better view to the east. Although this would be a dangerously exposed spot in a gale, it provided a very pleasant perch on a fine day, although it was never entirely free from the wind. But the view was impressive; it was possible to see for at least 40 miles in most directions, and sometimes even further. The sea and the sky were so exceedingly blue that Algy found himself humming one of his favourite old songs:

          Beyond the blue horizon
          Waits a beautiful day.
          Goodbye to things that bore me.
          Joy is waiting for me.
          I see a new horizon.
          My life has only begun.
          Beyond the blue horizon lies a rising sun.

Algy hopes that a beautiful day full of joy is waiting for all of you :)))

[Algy is humming part of Beyond the Blue Horizon, a song by Leo Robin, Richard A. Whiting and W. Franke Harling, which was introduced by Jeanette McDonald in the 1930 Ernst Lubitsch musical film Monte Carlo.]

The sun was sinking into the loch and it would soon be dark, so Algy found himself a perch for the night in a spot where he could watch the rippling water. It was a calm and peaceful evening, and Algy was happy to sit quietly there, listening to the other birds singing their bedtime songs in the woodland as the wind rustled through the still-bare branches of the trees.

It was supposed to be spring, but the sky was black, the air was cold, and there was very little sign of life about the place. So Algy perched on a rock beside the sleeping barnacles and limpets, and held on tight, just as they do. The wind was getting up, ruffling the tiny waves in the wrong direction as they tried to approach the shore, and Algy didn’t want to be blown into the sea by a sudden gust. He gazed at the water: some ripples went this way, some went that, and some seemed to go round in circles. Algy was fascinated by the complexity of the ever-changing patterns of motion and light, and for a while he became so absorbed in trying to watch it all that he quite forgot how cold he felt…

The weather was deteriorating again, with massive black clouds building up in every direction, so Algy decided to make the best of the last hour or two of sunshine while he had the chance. It was a wee bit breezy on the dunes, of course, so he had to keep his beak well inside his book to prevent the pages blowing about, but the light was ideal for reading – for the moment at least…