In a message dated 11/02/97 06:14:19, Jeff says:
<< Naturally, the birds mentioned in the quotation are English birds,
to Tennyson - we'll have to get Graham to give us the official word on
Since the title of official stone-namer for the list has already gone, and
there is already an official iris-L garden of stones, perhaps I can be
official iris-L ornithologist? Unfortunately I have now qualifications in
this department, but here goes.......
English robins - small bird (about 4oz/100g). Nice song. Mainly brown
coloured, but with orangey-red "breast" (most of the chest area) that is
brightest in late winter and spring. Nice song too. Popular as an emblem on
Christmas cards for some reason. Can become quite tame or "brave" - will
often hop right up and take grubs and insects from the spadeful of soil that
you are digging. I've even had them ride in the wheelbarrow!
Lapwings - sometimes known as plovers. Larger pale coloured bird with dark
wings and chest/belly, up to 12 inches long. Always forms flocks. Nests on
the ground (fools). Usually seen in the fields taking freshly sown seeds.
Very numerous around here, but only around from September to March. The male
grows a crest in spring to attract a mate (hence the poetic bit).
As for lovesick swains, you must remember that Tennyson was writing in a
diffferent era - now the blokes don't get a chance and are pounced on by the
women who go round in packs hunting for us!
Thankfully, I now have a very lovely partner, not of the hunting persuasion.