i Preface to the first edition

It’s hard enough tending to three blogs (A jumped-up pantry boy, Backed with, and A wild slim alien), so why would I want to do a foolish thing like initiate a fourth?

Because birds are also wild slim aliens.

Because this one will be just songs and pictures – with maybe the occasional word or two if I really can’t stop myself.

Because it will also enable me to learn more about birds.  I’m no ornithologist, but I’d like to use this blog as an excuse for discovery.  And perhaps find myself more able to spot certain birds for real, out on the Common and elsewhere.

Because there will be the twitcher’s thrill of the chase.  When – to take just three hard-to-come-by birds – will I spot a song about a whimbrel, a teal, or a ring ouzel?

And because rooks as well as nightingales fly through my dreams.

I’m not too worried if a song’s not so much about the bird in question as that bird being used anthropomorphically – for example, I don’t know for sure whether the geese in The National’s ‘The geese of Beverly Road’ really are geese, or just a bunch of squawking humans doing a very good job of impersonating our migrant friends.  More often than not, when a bird is being invoked in the title of a song, it’s for its symbolic qualities.  Perhaps that will prove invariably to be the case.

For now, for variety’s sake, by and large I’m going to concentrate on individual species instead of generic bird songs (like ‘Bird on the wire’), unless I get caught short.  Place your bets now for the species of bird that ends being the most regularly featured.  And please do email your suggestions.

The Eagles are banned, by the way.  Unless someone can convince me to unban them.  It will take  a large amount of money, or an extremely persuasive argument.

Contact awildslimalien


  1. Wonderful site. Today the Lapwing appeared back in my local area; so lovely to hear its’ call and even better to see it flying around. Its’ unusal flight pattern and wonderful look is a true sign of spring. We’re very lucky to have it in the area, and soon its’ mate will appear and hopefully they’ll rear some more young. Another local enjoys watching them too.
    Lucky to have a pair here (NE Hants). I went on a ‘pilgrimage’ to Ilkley (Yorks) to remember my late father a few years ago and took a trip over moor to Langbar and stopped as a hole flock of Lapwings got up … must have been at least 200 of them. Wow!

    Different subject, re: music. Please don’t forget Jeff Beck’s amazing Blackbird (track 9 from You Had It Coming (Epic 2001)). An extraordinary piece, short at 1.27 minutes but wonderful to hear such a distinguished guitarist playing in response to a blackbird’s call. Check it out!

    Please add me to your mailing list and keep me abreat of your new posts etc. I found you through Caught By The River.

    Very best wishes, and Happy Spring.


  2. Cheers, Tom. I’m not a million miles away from where you are so I’ll watch and listen out for those lapwings. I’m sure there must be a lapwing song to be tracked down and made available here too.

    And thanks for the Jeff Beck suggestion, which I’ll definitely follow up on. Will keep you posted.

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