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Peregrines called "hawks" in a book (1 Viewer)

what are the Russian terms for the tiercel and female peregrine?
Well, I am doing the first draft for now and haven't consulted local birders yet. But I've found mentions of sokolitsa (соколица) and tertsel (терцель) used to denote female and male falcons respectively.

Toyota Tercel, the Japanese car, actually gives the later obscure word, tertsel, some ground :)

But again these are preliminary variants and things may change.

whatever terminology is used in Russian normal speech

True.

male saker - sakret
male lanner - lanneret
male gyrfalcon - jerkin or gyrkin
male sparrowhawk - musket (interestingly, a term that carried over into the era of firearms)

Very interesting!
 
That's news to me, but I've never been to Chelmsford.

But I'm not particularly surprised to learn that there's a folk name for a waterbird that includes "gan" or "gun", as it would be related to the German word for goose, as are "gander" (male goose) and "merganser" (a genus of diving duck).

(As for "gun-" rather than "gan-", there's also an outdated American slang term "gunsel", derived from German via Yiddish -- literally "gosling", but meaning catamite. This term famously slipped past the censors to be included in the film The Maltese Falcon.)
 
@nartreb well, those gunners are mentioned twice in the book. Still not sure what they are:

(autumn note, if it matters) "Out of the misty darkening north, a hundred mallard climbed into the brighter sky, towering above the sunset, far beyond the peregrine that watched them from the shore and the gunners waiting low in the marsh."

(winter note) "I reached the estuary at high tide. Thousands of glittering dunlin hissed and plunged over blue water. Brent geese and wigeon floated in the brimming bays. Gunners were out. Through the bronze flashes, and the booming of the early dusk, wigeon whistled unquenchably and a solitary red-throated diver raised its melancholy wail."
 
In the passages above I think "Gunners" refers to people with guns. Wildfowlers waiting for the birds.

I agree. In the first note, both the peregrine and the "gunners" are in the role of a potential threat to the mallards.

In the second note all the birds are assigned carefully-chosen verbs, usually with an adverb or adjective or two. "Gunners" get the passive-voiced, dull "were out", suggesting they're in a different category.

Also, I'm not sure about England, but in many places, hunting season starts in fall and extends into winter.

Anyway, "gunner" has one very-well-known meaning, "person using a gun". The first online dictionary I checked lists "one who hunts with a gun" as the second meaning, after the military usage ("a soldier or airman who operates or aims a gun", as in an artilleryman). I would expect that any use of "gunner" with a totally different meaning (like for a bird) would have some very strong hints of context, as in "the gunner flapped its wings", unless the author was intentionally trying to confuse the reader or was fastidiously following obscure, local dialect.

This is not like "tercel", which is obscure but unambiguous.
Nor like "hawk", which simply has narrowed its meaning after the book was published.
(For a little variety/brevity, rather than "bird of prey" every time, I think it would be OK to occasionally use "raptor" as a synonym for the author's intended meaning of "hawk". хищник if Google translate can be trusted.)
 
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@Mono @nartreb

Regarding "gunners": I agree, that was my first thought too but I wanted to double-check. Obviously, you are right. I've reached the parts in the book where more hunter groups are mentioned, they sort of become a collective, anonymous force. By the way, who could be "followers" mentioned in the paragraphs below? The hunters who exclusively took care of the dogs? But this sounds like a 19th century hunt, modern hunters manage their dogs on their own, from what I know.

"Beagles were silently webbing out on to the wet surface of the fields. Huntsmen and followers were still and waiting. The hare was an acre away, sitting boldly in a furrow, big slant eyes shining in the sun, long ears bending and listening to the wind."

"The beagles are going home along the small hill lanes, the huntsmen tired, the followers gone, the hare safe in its form. The valley sinks into mist, and the yellow orbital ring of the horizon closes over the glaring cornea of the sun."

* * *

Regarding "tercel" and "hawk": I will be consulting local birders later. Endless "bird of prey" or "predator" wouldn't be good, true. (As for the translation of "raptor", I don't think it can be used.) Also, Baker himself hardly ever uses the words "victim" and "predator".
 
In UK fox hunting (and mink, deer and previously otter) a pack of dogs is used with a group of hunters on horseback or on foot. The hunt uses the dogs to find and to kill the prey. Unlike in bird hunting where the dogs are used to flush the birds to be shot and to recover the shot birds.

When fox/mink/deer/otter hunting the dogs (usually called hounds) and the hunters will be followed by a supporting group, known as the "followers". These followers will consist of the "terrier men", men with spades and small dogs whose job is to dig out the prey if goes down a hole "goes to ground". The followers will also have other supporting staff to deal with injured horses and sundry tasks. There will also be the young and old who aren't able to ride with the hounds.
 
@Mono Thank you, I didn't know this kind of sophisticated hunt still exists.

One more question:

"Two jays flew high across the fields when the peregrine had gone. Unable to decide their direction, they clawed along in an odd disjointed way, carrying acorns and looking gormless. Eventually they went back into the wood. Skylarks and corn buntings sang, the sweet and the dry; redwings whistled thinly through the hedges; curlew called; swallows flew downstream."

Does he mean the singing of skylarks was sweet and that of buntings dry, like wine?
 
@Mono Thank you, I didn't know this kind of sophisticated hunt still exists.

One more question:

"Two jays flew high across the fields when the peregrine had gone. Unable to decide their direction, they clawed along in an odd disjointed way, carrying acorns and looking gormless. Eventually they went back into the wood. Skylarks and corn buntings sang, the sweet and the dry; redwings whistled thinly through the hedges; curlew called; swallows flew downstream."

Does he mean the singing of skylarks was sweet and that of buntings dry, like wine?

Excellent question. I noticed previously that the author uses some surprising imagery, e.g. "the booming of the early dusk." Assigning a precise meaning to passages like that may be impossible.

"Sweet and dry" are more commonly used to describe wine than birdsong, but I think it's likely the author intended those particular adjectives to be simply descriptive, with wine allusions being an extra bonus. Skylark song is fairly pure-toned and melodic, which many musicians would consider "sweet", while the bunting is closer to a rattle or buzz, sounds often called "dry".

You can hear skylark songs here: skylark at xeno-canto (look for the triangular "play" buttons in the left column) and corn bunting here: corn bunting at xeno-canto

Your author would likely have known this poem by Shelley, in which skylarks and their songs are associated with sweetness:
To a Skylark
 
In UK fox hunting (and mink, deer and previously otter) a pack of dogs is used with a group of hunters on horseback or on foot. The hunt uses the dogs to find and to kill the prey. Unlike in bird hunting where the dogs are used to flush the birds to be shot and to recover the shot birds.

When fox/mink/deer/otter hunting the dogs (usually called hounds) and the hunters will be followed by a supporting group, known as the "followers". These followers will consist of the "terrier men", men with spades and small dogs whose job is to dig out the prey if goes down a hole "goes to ground". The followers will also have other supporting staff to deal with injured horses and sundry tasks. There will also be the young and old who aren't able to ride with the hounds.
Just to be clear though, fox hunting as you describe is illegal in the UK currently.
"

Foxes​

It’s illegal to hunt foxes with a pack of dogs. You can use dogs to simulate hunting, for example ‘drag’ or ‘trail’ hunting.
You can use up to 2 dogs to chase (‘flush’ or ‘stalk’) foxes out of hiding if the fox is causing damage to your property or the environment.

Your dogs can’t go underground to find the foxes unless they’re threatening wild or game birds kept for shooting - only one dog can go underground at any time.

You must:

  • shoot the fox quickly after it’s been found
"
 
@nartreb He was an avid reader, so he must have read Shelley, I guess. Thank you for the reference.

@Mono @LittleBitOfBreadNoCheese Thank you for letting me know.

Do you think imagery from the paragraph below could be inspired by the mystical star from the Bible? It is military-related too, though.

"After half an hour of idling through the morning sunshine and drifting in the cold south-east wind, he came down to the brook with tremendous swooping force, bursting up a star of fragment birds. A snipe whistled away down wind like a shell, and the first great clattering of woodpigeons settled to the long sighing of departing wings."
 
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Military. He's mixing up different types of artillery shell, but the idea of this passage is simply that the panicked smaller birds rose up like an explosion. A "star shell" was used for illuminating enemy positions, or sometimes as a signal. Other shell types were designed to burst into fragments, spreading high-speed steel over a wide area to kill personnel.

There's no connection with poisoning the water, so the star of bitterness doesn't fit here. Also, that bit of Revelation is somewhat obscure. Baker got married in Christ Church, which I believe was Congregationalist at the time. He doesn't strike me as a fire-and-brimstone kind of believer.
 
@nartreb Amazing, many thanks. I didn't know those were called star shells. The extract makes sense now.

Regarding his faith. In the introductory part, he writes:

"My pagan head shall sink into the winter land, and there be purified."

It's not that it explains anything.
 
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If you watch patiently enough, there's a good chance you will see what Baker described yourself: the stooping shape of a peregrine disappearing, often at great speed, into ground clutter - from a distance it looks like a falling missile - and a moment or two later, birds (usually smaller birds like waders or passerines but sometimes pigeons or corvids) scattering in all directions. It's a spectacular and dramatic sight, even if the actual attempt at capture often cannot be seen at such distance.

There must be some pretty good opportunities to watch peregrines in Russia, where in the country do you live?
 
"At the mouth of the estuary, land and water lose themselves together, and the eye sees only water and land floating upon water. The grey and white horizons are moored on rafts. They move out into the dusk and leave the water-land to the ear alone, to the whistling of the wigeon, the crying of curlew, and the calling of gulls."

Is the crying sound of curlew more like when someone sheds tears and cries, or shouts loudly?

"December 5th. The sun fired the bone-white coral of the frosted hedges with a cold and sullen glow. Nothing moved in the silent valley till the rime melted and steamed in the sun, and trees began to drip through the misty cave that boomed and blurred with voices drifting from the stirring farms. The peregrine flew from a haystack by the road, where he had been resting in the sun, and went down to the river."

"The misty cave" - what do you think, is it the space underneath the trees that the author means, the inner space of groves and hedges? Or just the gloomy, cave-like winter space underneath a cloudy sky that is everywhere around?
 
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The Curlewcrying is a sort of mournful sound rather than shouting. I’d say the cave is the space under the trees in this case. Beautiful words!
 
@Richard Prior Got it, thank you!

"Snipe huddled in a flooded meadow north of the river, like little brown monks fishing. They crouched low over their bent green legs, and I could see their Colorado-beetle-coloured heads and their gentle brown eyes. They did not feed, but simply held their long bills out above the muddy water, as though they were savouring the bouquet. Fifty went up when I walked towards them. There is no hesitation, no slow awakening, for snipe; only the sudden convulsive jump from the mud when the alarm rings in their nerves. They made a tremendous nasal noise as they rose: a sneeze of snipe, not a wisp. They kept close together and did not jink, flying high and fast in a group, like starlings. This meant that a hawk was about."

Does anybody understand what Baker means by "a sneeze of snipe, not a wisp"?

Saying that the snipe "did not jink", does he mean that the flock didn't fall apart or that it, as a whole, did not move around much?
 

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