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Cuckoo & Clear Sky, Portishead

Contrail-free Severn Estuary

After stalling for a week the year list stutters on with a bird calling in Eastwood – not where I expected to find one. It’s an early record for me too. The car-free list also chugs on, past my previous best at Upton Warren.

Under IOC taxonomy the cuckoos are one family that keeps its position, between parrots and owls. Our cuckoo, though, now brings up the rear of the family, which makes it tempting to think that it’s the closest related to an owl. Actually the logic works rather the other way round. If the tree descending from the first cuckoo distinguishable from an owl is balanced, then our cuckoo is as far away from an owl as any of its cousins.

Indeed, even this assumes that cuckoos and owls split back in the past. The split may have happened even further up the tree, in the dimmer and more distant reaches of time. (We have to imagine the tree growing downwards for this language to work. It’s more of a root system.)

Well, that’s confused everyone.

No confusion about the sky clear of contrails in my picture. I probably haven’t seen that since 9/11. This time an Icelandic volcano, which I’m not about to type – let alone pronounce – is responsible. What with that and a few earthquakes since I wrote about interesting times, the future is shaping up just lovely.

What’ll be next?

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