Sunday, 31 May 2009

A Listening Walk

This time of year birdwatchers need to use their ears. The birds are there but often hidden behind the foliage so recognising bird calls and songs is a key skill. I'm no expert in this area although I am getting better.Walking down the wooded Eyes Lane I managed to pick out a blackcap (and saw it too so knew I was right!), chaffinch, robin, mistle thrush (but no song thrush I'm sad to say), blue and great tits and pheasants. Looking into a field opening, I saw a grey partridge take flight. There were also a couple of swallows swooping around and a kestrel disappearing over the treeline.

I decided to take the path over the fields and saw reed buntings. The farmer had wisely flattened the path with his tractor so walkers don't stray and disturb the birds so much. But what a cacophony when I crossed the bridge into a field of bare ground and low weeds! I was surrounded by ten lapwings wheeping at me and then a pair of redshanks started circling me with their piercing piping calls and just as I was reaching the end of the field a lark trilled up. I'll certainly remember not to upset them again until the breeding season is over.

More larks and pipits started up as I walked along the embankment of the Mean High Water and I'm almost sure I heard sedge warblers. Back Lane rewarded me with tree sparrows (red status) and red-legged partridges.

A lovely Sunday morning.

Reed Bunting photo by Dave F Barker. Grey Partridge and Sedge Warbler by Richard Spencer - thanks guys.


Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm also trying to improve my bird listening skills.

Tree sparrows, now that's something I've never seen....

Coastcard said...

Do you have tips for bird ID skills, I wonder? Does the average birder learn to recognize most species by sight before sound? I was puzzled yesterday by brown birds behaving like chats or linnets, perching on or flying about in pairs over tall stalks of gorse. I didn't catch a good glimpse of them at all: every time I tried to 'catch' them in my binoculars, they vanished... We did however, get a good view of a couple of linnets in the same area. They were quite happy to perch for about 30 secs or more. Must post a pic. on my blog later...

Susan Richardson said...

Does indeed sound like a lovely Sunday morning. My bird listening skills are very poor - really want to improve.

Mistlethrush said...

It seems like there are lots of us wanting to recognise calls - great.

Tips? Errr. The way I do it is take in all the following: what it looks like, where it is and what it's doing and that gives me a pretty good idea. Then I check it through my binocs, if that's possible.

If it's within my hearing range, the call could help (if I know it!) Or if not, I listen anyway and hope to gradually learn to recognise it again.

Coastcard said...

Good tips, thank you. I shall remember to harness all senses so that I get the fullest overall pic. available - can see this may help with ID of birdsong.

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.