Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blackbird vocalisations

Last weekend I was up in Ayrshire and early on Sunday morning I surveyed Dean Castle Country Park for Nuthatches. Later on I made some recordings of a confiding male Blackbird (Turdus merula) who wasn't keen to fly around too much as a pair of Sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus) were displaying over his territory. The female hawk was also regularly coming down and flying through the sub-canopy. The diagram below shows a summary of some of the calls and song recorded - click for bigger images.

This is the classic song of a Blackbird and my favourite sound of early spring. Although it is most often uttered from a high, prominent perch, this male was singing about three metres up in thick woodland.

This high-pitched alarm call is often referred to as the 'hawk alarm call' and these down-slurred, pure-tone notes between 9 and 7 kHz were produced in response to the Sparrowhawks.

Another alarm call is the low-pitched "chook-chook-chook" sound. This male produced it on the ground when a dog passed by on a nearby path.

Still on the ground, the same male began singing this unusual song. While it resembled sub-song in structure (and with some similarities to a Song Thrush), it was uttered at loud volume on the open woodland floor before gradually changing back into standard song.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ayrshire Bird Report 2010

The Ayrshire Bird Report 2010 is now available at £5.00 from Dr R Vernon (29 Knoll Park, Ayr KA7 4RH). Cheques should be made payable to Ayrshire Bird Report. Please enclose £1.00 extra for p&p. It will also be available at SOC Ayrshire and RSPB Central Ayrshire group meetings, and Lochwinnoch RSPB nature reserve.

(Fraser Simpson)
The Rise, Fall and Disappearance of Ayrshire’s Stonechats
(Angus Hogg)
Kestrel in Ayrshire 2010
(Gordon Riddle)
Sparrowhawk Breeding Details 2010
(Ian Todd)
River Ayr Dippers - Breeding Details 2009/2010
(Ian Todd)
Chronological Summary
(Angus Hogg)
Systematic List
(compiled by Fraser Simpson)
Recent Rarities in Ayrshire
(Angus Hogg, Jason McManus & Dick Vernon)
Checklist of Ayrshire Birds
(compiled by Angus Hogg & Fraser Simpson)

Details: 124pp including: 8 full-colour inner pages with 13 photographs; 18 black & white artwork pieces; 11 black & white photos.

Thanks to Iain Leach for this year's cover photograph.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Song Thrush Song

Song Thrush singing at dusk in Stanmore Common, north London.

Shorter edit:

Longer edit:

Monday, March 05, 2012

Summerland Key Sounds

Here are a couple of clips of sound recordings made last December in Florida.