|MY BIRDWATCHING HIGHLIGHTS FOR NOVEMBER 2002
(OR PERHAPS LOWLIGHTS WOULD BE MORE ACCURATE!)
|And a few final words for October..... An extremely short list this month as my eyes have yet to improve. Confined to the house I am not able to record very much.
The visual impairment means that I have had to start relying much more on hearing. With birds this has meant using my hearing as never before, bringing an enhanced awareness of another aspect of bird watching to the fore - birdsong. The whistles of eagles and the mewing of buzzards are clear and diagnostic of genus if not species, but this has led me to a major identification problem. Take any two or books on birds and have a look at how they describe the calls of any three different birds of your choice and you will see what I mean.
No one call is heard the same by different observers - or more accurately - is be described the same by different observers. We seem to hear sound in different ways. What to one person is a squeak to another is a whistle, and so on. The BWP has pages and pages of sonograms of bird song, but how many of us have read and understood them, let alone tried to use them?
I suspect that for the average bird watcher they are just so much wasted space, as the average watcher does not include sophisticated recording equipment in the back of the car. Even if he or she did there would still be much room for confusion in identification as the calls even of individual birds vary as, for example, the breeding season progresses. Further, calls
within the same species vary tremendously as you cross the breeding range - great tits and skylarks here sound very different from their English cousins.
|Editor: Last month I reported that ' The latest (good) news is that the prognosis from Paul's medic, after what must have been extreme anxiety for Paul and his wife, is now excellent. The no little upheaval attending hospital and clinics has certainly interfered with his routines considerably.'
That he has managed to produce his second monthly page his typical of him. Readers will definitely notice the change of emphasis this month - changed his tune, (a pun I know Paul will forgive!) - to bird song! Still a little way yet to go, he has our thanks, support and best wishes for a full recovery.