Blackbird Improvisations

blackbirdThe blackbird in our front garden has made an early start practising his dawn chorus; ‘How d’ya feel?’, a phrase that rises at the end leaving you waiting for the response, which is ‘It’s six-thirty.’

Not the most promising of material but this bird’s going for it anyway;

‘How d’ya feel?
It’s six-thirty.
How d’ya feel?
It’s six-thirty.
How d’ya feel?
How d’ya feel?’

Although it isn’t six-thirty, it’s still only quarter to five! Just to make it more interesting he tries adding a couple of quieter warbling notes in between; ‘Nearly finished’. But he hasn’t.

blackbirdHe tries rephrasing his material, something along the lines of; ‘How feel d’ya?’ or ‘It’s three-sixty.’ Philip Glass has nothing to worry about.

Luckily for us, after five or ten minutes blackbirdhe then flits off to another song post and we’re able to drift back to sleep.

Pre-Dawn Chorus

pre-dawn3.45 a.m.; It’s too early for the dawn chorus proper but a song thrush is making up for it with a spirited and varied solo.

At first when I hear the disjointed snatches of song I wonder what the commotion is and I think that I pick up the brief ‘ki-wick, ki-wick, ki-wick!’ of a tawny owl.

song thrushSome parts of the song are rather more melodious so it crosses my mind that a nightingale might have returned to Coxley Valley for the first time in over a century. It’s early in the morning but even so I realise that this is unlikely and that only a song thrush could cobble together such a franticly varied stand-up routine as this.

There’s a sound-bite that reminds me of lapwing and a snatch of starling too. But it’s definitely song thrush because it keeps repeating most of its short phrases three times.

song thrushAnother song thrush is answering it from two hundred yards away near the quarry. No wonder when I hear the dawn chorus proper there’s a background of birdsong that I can never quite pick up. It never sings from the same song sheet often enough for me to spot the tune.