Good day all, what a beautiful sunny day it is, as well!
This morning when doing some sewing, I put on my birdsong CD to try and get my brain in tune for spring, and oh! what revelation. It was as though I had been transplanted into another time, another place, and this exotic location changed with every bird.
One of the first birds that features on the CD is a tree pipit Anthus trivialus, and I think I have written about these little birds before, because they were and remain one of my enduring favourites. I first heard and saw them when I was carrying out my thesis research on Dundreggan in May 2012. They have the most incredible song, and on a sunny day when numerous birds would be flying and singing, I would be almost dizzy with the noise of them. Ever since then, every time I hear a tree pipit, whether on a rainy, cold winters day via recording or on a spring day in person I am instantly transported back to that time.
It turns out that the tree pipit is no longer the only bird that has transportive powers for me.
There’s currently a male robin Erithacus rubecula that has adopted a wood pile for his territory, and is singing his heart out every time I walk past him. With the example robin playing on the CD I could hear the wood pile robin, clear as a bell, and I could see him also - singing proud perched on a particularly fetching twig. The feeling of being outdoors and being happy returned to me. It was as though I there.
On my most recent tree week with Trees for Life, I went off round the corner to satisfy a call of nature and spent an additional five minutes just relishing the clear notes of a redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus – the first time I ever heard or saw one. The bird itself was utterly stunning, the song clear and crisp and beautiful, the location was as good as it could have been, it was sunny; it was absolutely idyllic. I also saw redstarts in Spain, but I can’t remember them singing. I’m sure I would have, if they had, as I can remember other birds that were there singing their hearts out.
Other birds which remain special, because of the location or the memories of my first sighting, or because they are just wonderful and they help keep me going, include stonechat Saxicola torquata, dippers Cinclus cinclus (I could write forever more just about dippers, wonderful birds), and buzzards Buteo buteo among others.
Buzzards because their call is just wonderful; that whistle of freedom, flight and adventure. I know they are not our most magnificent of birds of prey, but they are and remain some of my favourite.
Dippers because they are associated with some of my favourite habitats, they are perfectly adapted to water life and they have the most magnificent motion which I really love.
Stonechat remind me of some wonderful times in the wilds of Scotland. The noise they make and the way they sit so perkily on the bracken cheers my soul when I think of them.
Starlings whistling at you from the top of the buildings, sparrows chattering in the hedge, wrens giving it yaldy, indignant and tough, skylarks on a spring day lifting their song to the heavens.
I am only touching on the birds that mean something to me here as I am concentrating on sounds rather than image but isn’t it interesting how the sounds can transport us so readily. We can disappear at any time, just choose your location and let the birds take you there.