So spring time is once again upon us. Splendid. It is so nice to be back in the UK for spring after spending the last two years in Australia. One thing I really missed while over there was the dawn chorus. I know it can be a bit annoying at times when you want to lie in but in-comparison to the bird calls in Australia the dawn chorus is just beautiful. Many of the birds in Oz are truly mesmerizing with their bright and bold colours. However I feel this is to make up for their lack of singing prowess. I think in the whole time I was over there one bird song really caught my attention – it was that of the butcher bird. It may have an attractive call but it is actually quite ruthless! The name pretty much says it all. The butcher bird impales prey on thorns or will hang them on a fork in a tree and then munch on them later. Here is a link to their song;
I feel like I have to forgive them when their fluid notes restored my faith in Australian bird song. What really wound us up was listening to the this guy;
The black crow/cow. These crows seemed to chatter non-stop to each other in the early hours of the morning….and throughout the rest of the day. Compare that to this;
Ahhh, the refreshing sounds of the dawn chorus. Much more relaxing.
So as of late I have been trying to identify birds according to their call. I used to do this when I was wee. I would wander through the garden like a little explorer recording the songs of the garden birds. Once I heard a distinctive song I next tried to find where it was coming from. More often than not I would spend ages looking and never find who I was looking for. Birds can be quite devious when they want to be.
I was out for a walk recently enjoying all the usual bird songs when I heard one a bit unfamiliar. I immediately stopped (forgetting I was on a small road) and scanned the trees above me. I then heard a rustle of leaves just a couple of meters in front. I happened to glance down thinking I might see a pheasant lurking in the undergrowth. They like to lurk. However instead I was pleasantly surprised to see the sweetest little reddish-brown face looking back at me. To begin with I thought it might have been a weasel or a stoat but, I was not sure. I could not see its tail which would help me identify it – I knew if it was a stoat it would have a black tip. Anyway I was suddenly reminded I was standing on the middle of the road as a car with a rather disgruntled looking driver tooted at me. I waved him on apologetically and marched back to the house to try and figure out which mustelid I had just been staring at. As I only saw its handsome wee face it is rather difficult to say – so there is no other option but to call it a stoat/weasel….a stoael or weat. I never did find the bird I was looking for in the first place either!
The following page is quite handy if you want to try and identify a few birds for yourself;
I definitely recommend it. It is surprisingly satisfying!
As of late I have also been noticing some beautiful butterflies frolicking around. The first one I saw was distinctively green and I had never seen it before. It reminded me of the cabbage whites you get back in Scotland. This lovely green fellow is a Brimstone (reminds me of something out of Harry Potter)!
It is really a very pretty butterfly – especially when the sun shines through its elegant leaf-shaped wings.
I do not know about you but I am definitely looking forward to more signs of spring – little lambs jumping through the fields, a plethora of butterflies as the weather heats up, and an intensifying of the dawn chorus. Happy days 🙂