May 26, 2017

Little Egret

Similarly to this time last year we appear to have had a very dry March and April which will in all likely turn into a wet late April-May.  Going by the evidence of proliferation of early wildflowers and insects this will be good news for baby birds.  Many hatched too early last year and did not make it due to lack of available food.  Obviously this blog only describes local conditions, but new patterns appear to be emerging.

Large numbers of summer visiting birds are arriving from the northern and southern climes to breed in this island. Birdsong is becoming more varied and challenging.  I find it easier to concentrate on one bird song at a time until I grasp the nuances that separate birds of the same groupings.  Then I carry this pattern around in my head, reciting it to myself over a week or  two (eg. Willow Tit, ......tueeee, tueee)  until I have heard it a few times and then it sticks.  Initially this skill  felt impossible to acquire until I  re-listened to some recordings made last year that were pending for identification, amazingly, were identifiable this year even to the point of impressing a hardened expert with my skill. So it does stick. 

Our garden Blackbird has a string of Bluetit bird calls that he has incorporated into his song.  The Bluetit has also reciprocated by putting some Blackbird strings into his song too.  I doubt it is confusing to the females but it certainly muddles up some of my recordings. 

Listening  over the years it is possible to identify patterns that have been handed on and adopted by the young males and not only amongst the same species.  Several years ago one Blackbird mimicked a distinctive american car horn and threads of that stream are still evident today.

Most birds are still busy nest building going by the number sporting unusual beards and floppy moustaches.  As soon as the blossoming trees turn to leaves sights like these will become limited.

This year the blossom on the trees appears to be peaking at the same time even the late rapidly dissapperaing  May pink Cherries.

For future blog posts I have decided to focus specifically on a small largely unknown strip of woodland owned by the National Trust.  Over the next 12 months I will compile a photo and audio diary to be featured regularly in this blog, hopefully culminating in a book or bookletWith no transport and too much gear to carry looking closer to home is a necessity, but also very essential as like everyone else I overlook my own patch.

Dead Nettle

Crab Apple