Monday, 29 April 2013

A-Z Challenge 2013 - 'Y' - Yellowhammer

My A-Z posts this year are based on my garden – flowers, animals, the birds and the bees, butterflies - with a bit of poetry thrown in. For some letters I am expecting to cheat somewhat –wishing they were here.
Y – Yellowhammer, Yew

I was always told that if you listened to the yellowhammer’s song you would hear it sing “a little bit of bread and no cheese.”

The yellowhammer, trailing grass, will come
To fix a place and choose an early home,
With yellow breast and head of solid gold.

 Unfortunately the last yellowhammer I can remember seeing was when I was a boy back in the early 1950s when I lived in Rutland, England’s smallest county, not that far from where John Clare, the poet, had lived.

The yew tree is famed for its longevity; many stand in churchyards. Ours is very young, little more than a shrub.

Yew (centre)
It has a long way to go before it can match that which Wordsworth praised.

There is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore:

  • The Yellow Hammer – John Clare
  • Yew Trees – William Wordsworth

  • Yellow Hammer – wikicommons CC BY-SA 2.0


Jo said...

Are yellowhammers rare now then? Must check with sinlaw.

Lovely pix.


aw said...

Used to see a lot of yellowhammers along our narrow country roads here but now farmers tend to slash the hedges rather than lay them they have become very thin and patchy so there is not the habitat for the birds to nest in.
Our neighbouring farm house has a yew tree and the birds regularly supply us with seedling trees in our garden not to mention dropping seeds down the chimney.

Kristin said...

I don't think I've ever seen a Yew tree or a yellowhammer either in the Midwest or the Southern US.