Re: birding-aus Julian B's mention of Richard III

To: Penny Drake-Brockman <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Julian B's mention of Richard III
From: Julian Bielewicz <>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 05:15:15 +1000

>I can't resist this but who on earth is the Duke of GLOSTER.  

Brother of Edward IV; uncle to Edward V (one of the wee lads supposedly
murdered in the Tower).  That's the Tower of London - famous for its Ravens
[Corvus corax] which I had the pleasure of viewing close up on a farm in
Central Wales back in April 1997).  A truly magnificent sight!  The Ravens,
not the murder of a 12-year old king!  There is a comparatively modern
rumour which maintains that as Edward and his younger brother, another
Richard, were being slain, the mournful caw of the Raven was the last sound
they heard on this mortal coil.

This is not to claim that the Tower has moved to Central Wales, although it
is known that the Welsh moan a lot - something to do with the substandard
leeks, black sheep nibbling daffodils and a lack of decent "fish 'n' chip"
shops in the lower valleys.
>Phonetic spelling is a failing of this modern world. 

As it was of the Middle English era - before learned professors and
lump-splitting taxonomists shoved in their qualified oars !!!

>Julian - you can hardly be a
>true Shakespearian!

On the contrarie, mine faire wench :-), GLOSTER is the 16th centurie
spelinge varyante as use-ed by thee Barde hisself!

At an earlier period, circa 1016, it was "Gleawcestrescir" but I could never
get my tongue around that!  The name derives... but no, this is birding-aus
not medieval history.

Mind you, it does tend to lend itself to thoughts on birds and literature...

...the ugly duckling of the anserini pretensions... four-and-twenty
blackbirds (Turdus merula) of the infamous pie saga... the oft told tale of
the Owl and Pussycat... one of the world's oldest who-dunnits in the slaying
of Cock Robin (Erithacus rubecula) and, of course, the House Sparrow (Passer
domesticus) of bow-and-arrow infamy.

I know Tolkien was not over fond of "black birds" (corvids?) but he gave
"the old thrush" a hero's part in THE HOBBIT.  Doesn't actually specify
which thrush so I suppose we takes our pick; Mistle (Turdus viscivorus) or
Song (T. philomelos).  The latter is of course available on the Australian
List.  As an rank outside chance Tolkien (who haled from the Midlands) could
perhaps have meant either Fieldfare (T.pilaris) or Redwing (T. iliacus).
Eagles fare well in "The Lord of the Rings" as they do in Horwood's "The
Stonor Eagles."

And who can forget the irascible seagull in Adam's "Watership Down"?  

What?!  Roadrunner, the mortal enemy of Coyote?


>Penny Drake-Brockman, Examination Recitals Co-ordinator, Sydney
>Conservatorium of Music,  Level 2, Australian Technology Park, Redfern.
>Postal Address: Sydney Conservatorium of Music, University of Sydney C81,
>Sydney. NSW 2006. Tel: 02 9351 1254. Email: 
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