Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 10/03/2011

A-little-bit-of-bread and noooo cheese.

The blog title is in no way related to today’s photo.. ooh hang on, I might be able to find a teeny tinyiest thread to link it, tenuous doesn’t seem a strong enough term. More of that later.

I’ve been wanting to learn the calls of UK bird species, to aid in my locating and photographing our native feathered friends. Walking out in the woods and hearing a vast array of calls is comparable to visiting a foreign country and not knowing what anyone is saying. I do have a CD with calls but managed to find a very basic one last weekend which I’m now listening to as I drive around.

A narrator with a wonderfully soft Geordie accent describes the call of each bird on the CD, it’s normal song, alarm call and on the wing call in such a descriptive way it almost crossed over into musical phraseology.

I’ve listened to the whole disk through twice now and can certainly recognise calls when I hear then, but as I can’t concentrate as hard on the narration whilst driving, I have yet to put the new calls I’ve learnt to the specific bird correctly. Admittedly there are some which are very similar amongst the UK species, such as between the Mistle Thrush and Blackbird, I suspect I need to listen to the CD when I don’t have to concentrate on anything else if I’m going to achieve my goal.

So back to that tenuous of tenuous links for today’s photo; the blog’s title is a common phrase which delivers the melody and speed of the Yellowhammer song, a small yellow passerine found in the UK countryside. It’s a call I remember vividly from my childhood but one I rarely hear these days (though I did hear one on my way home last month – the benefits of an opened topped sports car!). The Black-Cheeked Lovebird pictured above, like most parrots, is an excellent mimic and will readily adapt it’s song to that of others it hears frequently… and here it is… drum roll… which could include the repertoire of a Yellowhammer if one were to reside nearby. (Is that tenuous enough? I know I know, it wasn’t really worth the wait!).

During one term at university I was so enamoured with a new album I’d bought that I listened to it day in day out. Towards the end of term, during a brief period when the record wasn’t being played I suddenly heard a familiar tune emanating from the tree branches near my window. I must have played the record so much, especially the first track, that a resourceful Starling had started to mimic it (Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me” – the opening song “Little Fury Thing” if you were wondering).


  1. Now I HAVE to go and look up that Dinosaur Junior track on U-Lube and I really shouldn’t!

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