Pausing to think about something commonplace, but easily taken for granted.
It’s interesting to stop for a moment and think what your favourite bird song might be. It doesn’t have to be anything exotic.
Of course, bird song sometimes doesn’t really merit being called song. Wood pigeons (increasingly common in Caversham) and doves make a tedious, repetitive racket! And plenty of the LBJs aren’t great either.
By the way, LBJs = little brown jobs – those small birds that you can’t quite identify. There’s a little guide to identifying birds here, if you’re interested:
Going back to picking a favourite bird song, for me, it’s the common blackbird that wins. They really do ‘sing’ with a wonderful, varied and extensive repertoire.
And I’m not alone. I was properly delighted to read the other day that, out of all the birds he’s heard, Chris Watson similarly picked the blackbird as his favourite.
If you don’t know of him, he’s a world-leading sound recordist. If you’ve followed David Attenborough’s series, there’s a fair chance you’ll have heard his work. You can read all about him here:
And the book in which I read about Chris Watson’s choice of favourite birdsong is Sonic Wonderland, which you can find here –
– which, of course, you can order from Caversham’s own independent bookshop, Four Bears (on Prospect St):
To add jam on top, Chris Watson was a founding member of Cabaret Voltaire and yes, I was listening to the band back in the day. Indeed, if you phone me, an excerpt from their single, “Nag, Nag, Nag”, is my chosen ring tone and has been for some time. So, a perfect coincidence.
(FYI: In case you’re interested, I was listening to Cabaret Voltaire up to and including “The Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord”, and was then very pleased to re-discover them with “Shadow of Fear”.)
That’s all good stuff. But on a sombre note, for years I’ve had blackbirds nesting in my garden. One or more broods, every year. Until 2022. This year, there have been none. NONE. Why not? The freakishly hot few days in the summer? I somehow doubt it – they were only a few days; there have been no blackbirds all year. And their absence isn’t just from my garden. I’ve seen very few blackbirds around while I’m walking anywhere, in and around Caversham. (I think the last one I saw was in late spring, in Clayfield Copse.) A product of the changing climate? I can’t think of another cause.