31 January, 2014

An Unfamiliar Birdsong

With a break in the weather, I tackled Bushy Park yesterday in the hope of locating last year's Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, which should be becoming more active in the coming weeks. The plan failed miserably and the bird(s) never showed, but in the process of failing my attention was drawn to an interesting bird song coming from a row of oaks in the Canal Plantation. It was loud enough to be heard over the Parakeets and sounded thrush-like, but the repetitiveness of the same descending notes was like... so crazy and out there. I looked around a bit expecting a confused Mistle Thrush, and almost completely ignored the fact that the song was coming from a nearby Redwing.

In my slight amazement, I managed to take a rubbish song recording- you should just about be able to make out it's melodic song over the Parakeets at 0:08, 0:20 and 0:44...



I don't know about you, but when it comes to the vocal abilities of wintering Redwings, my knowledge doesn't extend much beyond the usual one note 'seep' you'll hear as they pass overhead. I've always imagined them to be fairly silent birds. Once or twice in past winters, I've come across an individual or two giving out that quiet, warbling sub-song, but for a bird to be performing full blown-song in London, in the middle of winter... what a maverick. It would be interesting to know if anyone else has had similar experiences with singing Redwings? An internet search reveals a few records of odd birds singing in spring, but I'm yet to find a mid-winter occurrence.

Just to balance out the post with a picture, here is the Kingfisher that's been showing amazingly well near the Park's Pheasantry Cafe for the past week...

Remarkably, it doesn't seem to take any notice of the constant stream of toddlers and walkers using the path just a few metres away. If only the sun would shine... 

2 comments:

Ashley Beolens said...

Brilliant to hear the Redwing song, I always get excited when I hear the soft subsong you talk about, until I remember what it is (not that Redwings aren't great but you know what I mean) never heard one in full song like this one though!

Bill said...

I must say I did get slightly excited when the song initially started up. Images of a singing Black-throated Thrush sprung to mind (even though I haven't a clue what their song sounds like)!

Bill