Na­ture Trail

Bray People - - NEWS - WITH JIM HUR­LEY

THE LOVELY sea­son of spring pro­gresses apace and wild birds be­come more vo­cal as the breed­ing sea­son gets into full swing and the air is filled with a va­ri­ety of songs, calls and miscellaneous vo­cal­i­sa­tions.

Beauty is in the ear of the lis­tener and bird song does not al­ways have to be sweet to be plea­sur­able. One of my favourite sounds in the bird world at this time of year is the loud and stri­dent but not very mu­si­cal dis­play calls of Her­ring Gulls echo­ing off sea cliffs or off har­bour walls.

The deep 'pruk-pruk' call of Ravens is part of the plea­sure of wild places as is the per­sis­tent, high-pitched scold­ing of a high­fly­ing Pere­grine Fal­con ac­ci­den­tally dis­turbed at a nest site.

A dis­play call that was so com­mon in the past but is now a great rar­ity was the hoarse and rasp­ing 'crex-crex' call of the Corn­crake. Birds only called at night. Sum­mers seemed warmer then and nights were much darker with less light pol­lu­tion. With bed­room win­dows wide open on balmy nights many a per­son fell asleep to the mo­not­o­nous rasp­ing that went on and on with only the briefest of breaks.

The Robin with its rather thin and squeaky song wins the award for be­ing one of the few birds to sing right through the win­ter and the award for one of the great sounds of sum­mer evenings goes to par­ties of scream­ing Swifts as they race over the roof tops in towns.

And lit­tle Jenny Wren gets a distinc­tion for the sheer vol­ume of song that em­anates from her diminu­tive size; her tiny body ap­pears to vi­brate deep within a Bram­ble bush with the ex­er­tion of the metal­lic trilling of her ring­ing song.

Among the song­sters my No 1 vote goes with­out hes­i­ta­tion to the Black­bird. Its fa­mil­iar song, de­liv­ered from a clearly vis­i­ble van­tage point, is loud and clear and its melodic qual­ity is such that that it de­mands one to stop and lis­ten to its well-known mel­low tones.

The song of the Great Tit is much in ev­i­dence at the mo­ment. While the very com­mon bird has a wide reper­toire of cheer­ful and mu­si­cal calls its song is me­chan­i­cally repet­i­tive and is rem­i­nis­cent of some­one vig­or­ously us­ing a bi­cy­cle pump.

In ad­di­tion to bi­cy­cle pump­ing the loud song of the Great Tit is of­ten de­scribed as be­ing like some­one re­peat­ing ‘tea-cher, tea-cher' with a see­saw­ing, me­chan­i­cal in­to­na­tion.

The Great Tit is renowned for its bi­cy­cle pump­ing song

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.