I’d never heard of Thomas Bewick, who has seemingly been drowned out on this side of the Pond by Audubon’s monumental talent, but his reputation towered over there for a good long time. Poor John Clare asked if a friend had a copy of Bewick’s Birds. The still uncorrupted Wordsworth wrote, “Oh now that the genius of Bewick were mine/And the skill which he learn’d on the banks of the Tyne.” Young Jane Eyre says, “With Bewick on my knees, I was then happy.” Later, the even younger, and much less fictional, Virginia Stephen, (Woolf-to-be) bounced on her daddy’s knee while drooling over the book.
The barn swallow, Hirundo rustica. They have been nesting under the eaves of the Prospect Park Boathouse this spring. The species is found all over the world; it is the swallow in Britain.