Willow Warblers on Trendlebere Down, my 1970s nature notebooks and Tunnicliffe’s Brooke Bond Bird Portraits

It’s a beautiful day up on Trendlebere Down, an area of heathland on the east of Dartmoor in Devon. There’s a lilting song coming from the top of a tree. It’s a tiny yellow bird; a Warbler. It can’t be a Chiffchaff with that song. It must be a Willow Warbler:

Willow Warbler - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Back home I look for the Willow Warbler in Bird Portraits by Charles Tunnicliffe in the small album of Brooke Bond tea cards, originally from 1957:

Tunnicliffe's Bird Portraits - The Hall of Einar

It captures their character perfectly:

Brooke Bond - Bird Portraits - Charles Tunnicliffe

I love the phrase “Joyous descending trill.”

Back in 1976 I noted seeing one in my childhood nature notebooks:

Willow Warbler - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

They are such dainty birds.

Looking through my nature notebooks I find this entry from 1977 about the Willow Warbler, with my pencil crayon drawing:

Willow Warbler - The Hall of Einar - (c) David Bailey (not the)

It was 15 April 1977 when I saw a Willow Warbler in the apple tree which grew my parents planted in our back garden, from an apple seed, when I was born. It’s not a bad drawing for a child. Here’s my equivalent digital photograph from 2018:

Willow Warbler - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s taken me half an hour to get this close to this Willow Warbler. It’s time to just stand in the middle of the heath and enjoy its joyous descending trill.

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