Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Strange Sound in the Woodland

I've never been very good at identifying birds by their song. I have a cd of all the different garden birds' calls, but it still doesn't help much. Descriptions in English of the calls are even less helpful. They say things like "A short chirring sound followed by a long Peep". It's like trying to describe, say, French prononciation in written English - - it just can't be done.

A couple of days ago, Stephen and I were walking in The Hollies, which is a huge Victorian wooded garden which was given to the public in 1921 by its owner in memory of his son who died in the First World War.

As we walked, we heard a sound. Now I'm not good at identifying birdsong, as I said - - but I knew that I'd never heard this before, ever. It sounded like water bubbling along in a river - - or perhaps a soft whistle being blown many times in quick succession.

We peered into the trees to try to find the bird which was singing. Finally Stephen spotted it, silhouetted against the sky. But one thing I could see clearly was the shape, with a long spiky bill. I could see a black stripe across its eye, and a pinkish colour on its front.

"I think it's a nuthatch," I said. Actually I was surprised that I knew - - but I have spent quite a bit of time looking at books of British birds.

Thirty seconds later Stephen had looked it up on the internet using his smartphone. And sure enough, there it was - - a nuthatch. You can listen to the song there too - - and it was exactly what we heard.

Ohhh, I do love the internet.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

"prononciation". Was the mis-spelling intentional to suggest frog-talk? Very clever...and yes, I too continue to find the internet a mind-boggling facility. How ever did we survive without it?

8:38 pm  
Blogger Helsie said...

Me too... and Smart Phones are great too aren't they?

11:40 pm  

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