Blog

Mon 23rd January 2012

Posted on January 24, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Just really checking in to report that there's nothing much to report. The weather conditions here are far too warm still and little new has arrived in the last couple of weeks. There was a touch of excitement when a Little Auk was reported at Pembroke, a week ago, but I was on the football field at the time and so didn't see it. There was some debate about the ID from people who did see it, and from the one blurry photo I've seen, it is pretty inconclusive - it could be a Razorbill or a Little Auk. The best bird I have found was a Black-necked Grebe in Perelle Bay - an uncommon species here. So no exciting pics, but here is a pleasant evening shot of a GBBG resting at Grandes Havres.

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Great Black-backed Gull - Grandes Havres, Jan 2012

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The warm weather has brought the resident birds out singing with gusto. Last year I hardly made any sound recordings at all and I intend to do a lot more this year if possible. To start off here is a Great Tit singing at the Claire Mare.

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I find these spectograms really helpful in understanding bird calls and songs. Only when I saw the graph above did I realise that the second note of the song is a 'falling' note. I really find it hard distinguishing bird songs in particular - I'm not so bad at calls, simply due to lots of practice and that they are always the same sound each time. But songs are too variable for me. A lot of bird song recognition is due to rhythm and timing which I cannot read at all (the evidence is in the Gyr Crakes songs!). Play me a Blackbird and a Mistle Thrush song straight after each other and I genuinely cannot notice a definite difference. I really struggle with differentiating Reed and Sedge Warblers even though I have heard lots and lots and lots every single year. Also, I have no "sound memory" - I cannot hear sounds in my head that I heard just a few minutes previously, never mind ones I haven't heard all year. Whereas I can still "see" quite clearly in my head the RBFly I saw on Blakeney Point in 1986. My birding mates who seem to be best at bird songs are also the ones who can play an instrument - I don't think it is coincidence. My lack of skill in bird-song recognition is a massive frustration to me, but I have grown to live with it, and I am trying to improve this using the Remembird as an aid. It is a good job my eyes and my brain are literally super-human to more than make up for this.

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Categories: 2011-2012 Winter