Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Using my ears

On my way to crammy train station yesterday morning I could hear plenty of birds but didn't see many. I am always trying to improve my bird call ID so yesterdays journey acted as a test of calls I already know.
First was a GS Woodpecker and a flock of Siskin which flew over the woodland on Crowhall lane and a mixed flock of Fieldfare, Redwing and Song Thrush were in the bushes surrounding the horse fields at Nelson.

Just before passing the post office I heard the unmistakable trilling of a single Waxwing, which was in the trees in the middle of the allotments.
Whilst waiting for the trian which was delayed by 10 minutes, a GS Woodpecker worked its way along the trees lining the platform.
More Siskin this time in groups of 1-2 flew over and whilst listening to the mixed tit flock near the platform I could hear a pair of Bullfinch.

Not hard calls to ID I know but this time a few years ago I wouldn't have been able to ID any of them, well maybe the Woodpecker.


Johnnykinson said...

I have been birding for 3 years or so and quickly decided i needed to learn bird calls and song. I got a CD and tried learning everything, but struggled badly. I now know all of the common birds and "revise" during the year as the seasons change just to remind me of some of the sounds that i haven't heard for a while. Much easier to target than to try to learn loads of stuff.

Birding about Northumberland said...

Thats very impressive, my only ID's are Great Tit, Blackbird, Starling. I just got a book off a friend with a cd and bird calls I must make an effort to listen to it.

Stewart said...

Hi Phil (and Johnny),
In my 30 years birding I have never used recordings for learning songs and calls. Best way is to listen for things you dont know then look for the caller. In time it sticks. As this is a slow method, learning is more gradual and done at your own pace. Now, if I hear something I dont know I'm well excited...

Crammy Birder said...

It's true Stewart, I bought a CD last year and put it on my Ipod but only use it if I know there will be certain birds to be found at that time of year e.g. I listened to Yellow Browed Warbler the night before I went to newbiggin in September, just incase I heard one and could then ID it quicker.

Also I found the CD confusing as it had the species calling or singing very clearly for about 2 minutes solid which would rarely happen out in the field.