Friday, 10 April 2015

Troglodytes Troglodytes

I was always told of the abundance of Wrens as a young birder. However only seeing the odd one or two, owing to their skulking and secretive nature never convinced me. As a naïve young lad I assumed that Blackbirds, Starlings or House Sparrows were far more abundant than ol' Jenny.

Over the past two years I have begun to take my birding a little more (I hate the phrase) seriously. I have been using the ever present Geoff Sample to learn bird song as well as taking up ringing. This has helped me get my ears and eyes in and my repertoire is increasing constantly. One of the first songs I learned was that of the Wren. Its percussive Sten gun like rattle halfway through the song giving it away. Since learning the Wrens song I have been amazed at how many birds are about. My back garden, which to me was devoid of birdlife other than a Collared Dove and some very noisy Starlings has suddenly come alive, Blue Tits, Goldfinches, Med Gulls flying over with their distinctive cry, and of course the subject of todays ramblings.... a Wren.

I have been extremely tied for any spare time recently. Preparing to welcome my second offspring into the world, new job, looking to move house and an 18 month old all taking their much deserved attention. Birding therefore has suffered as a result. This has led me to use my commute to bird a little.

Each morning takes me through Victoria Park in Portsmouth and apart from the Feral Pigeons and caged exotics there is a surprising amount of Avifauna to be found. I have so far discovered 3 Blackbird territories, a sizeable Wood Pigeon roost, a plethora of Laridae species, many 1cy birds which have been helping me with moult in juv Gulls and their many variances, Chiffchaffs on migration, blackcaps etc. but the main thing that has struck me is the abundance of Wren territories around the park. In the short walk from the bus stop for the park and ride to the Guildhall cenotaph alone there are 5 different singing males at present. As you venture round the park the song bursts from every patch of cover.

Spring is very much in the air around the park and I am sure it will not be long before we are seeing downy young birds with the tell tale yellow gape, and pin feathers. I have never before looked forward to a spring so much nor enjoyed the bird song as this year. I genuinely believe that schools should be teaching basic bird song to kids, maybe this could begin to arrest the reliance on modern convenience and put people back in touch or even foster a real appreciation for what nature is all about.  

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