From his aerial perch
chips at the wintering sky
I’m much better at recognising birds when I see them than by their calls, but I’ve started to recognise the jays and the azure winged magpies, though I really only know one from the other by the number of voices heard at once; the hoopoe is quite familiar, too, and I’ve now come to associate a sort of hollow rattling cackle with the starlings. (I was going to describe the noise as a ‘grackle’, but find that that is actually the name of a bird, which is a bit confusing.)
There are a few other calls that are totally unmistakable, of course, and I was startled the other day to hear a cuckoo loud and clear. Even in Spain, it’s really not that time of year. At the same time, there was also a beautiful clear melifluous song that I didn’t recognise, and I went out and walked all round the house trying to work out where it came from.
I spotted a flutter of long-tailed tits between the fruit trees along the drive, and a few of the other common and garden visitors, but nothing big enough to make the kind of song I’d heard. And anyway, once I’d got outside, it had got a lot fainter. So I went back indoors, and there it was again.
Eventually I realised that I had fogotten to turn down the volume on my computer while I was researching a hotel I had to write about. Most hotel sites have background music, which is irritating enough, but this one – an eminently ecological resort – had a soundtrack of birdsong. I wasn’t amused.