While I love this blog, I now pretty much only write on my other two blogs: BirdingBlogs.com and 10,000 Birds - I would love to see you there!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Finally, the Acrocephalus get here!

I had been monitoring my local patch every few days to see when the Acrocephalus warblers get back. The reed warblers had been singing their little heads off in Lago di Garda at the beginning of May, but alas, they seemed to be taking their sweet time to get here.
Heading down to the pond last Saturday (17 May), I did not here a thing. Well, at least there were no Acrocephalus calling. But the little Tufted Ducks (Reiherente) were looking decidedly gorgeous in the afternoon light. Fieldfares, coots, a couple of reed buntings (Rohrammer) and some Magpies kept me amused but I also tried my hand at getting some diginocked photos of the various creatures. As the evidence clearly demonstrates, I am merely starting out on this whole digiscoping thing. In my defence, I think trying to hold a pair of binoculars steady, get the little camera up to the eyepiece, and follow a moving bird all at the same time is not all that easy.

As the day started to wind down (must have been about 8pm-ish) it happened! One sole reed warbler belted out a song. Ducks forgotten.

But alas, he didn't sing again.

A little later, I found two singing marsh warblers (how they look like the African marsh warblers!) belting out a song to a couple of onlooking moorhens (who were shyly hiding in the dense reeds).

There are evidently people who can tell the reed and marsh warblers apart just by getting a good look at them. I am not one of them. Not even close. I have given up (at this early stage) trying to tell them apart. I just learnt the song. Sooo much easier. Now lots of birders freely give that advice to other – particularly beginner – birders: just learn the calls, lad, it is so much easier. Well, frankly, I suck at memorising calls. I struggle to remember my wife's voice let alone those of the hundreds of European, Central American and southern African birds I have tried to learn.

My response was natural (for a silly bird person). I used my cell phone. When the wife phones, I hear marsh warblers. colleagues=reed warblers, other friends=icterine warbler, etc.

Windows XP now sounds like a veritable forest of competing bird sounds. I am pretty sure it annoys at least some of my colleagues. But frankly, I'll survive ;-)

Happy birding!

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