Saturday, 21 April 2012

London Wild Bird Watch 2012

I am led to believe that readership has increased dramatically of late - thanks Mike. Those previous readers are aware of two facts about the author - that he spent about twenty five years before the mast  and that he is certainly short of birding experience. I have, I believe, reached the dizzy heights of Ordinary Birder and with luck will become an Able Bodied Birder - given my age there is no chance that I shall ever become a Chief Birder. Therefore, I am in no position to pass comment on other peoples birding skills. In regard of the Iberian Chiffchaff postings on SOS, if people like Bernie Forbes, Owen Mitchell and  Chris Janman think that it is an Iberian Chiffchaff, then that's good enough for me. They have been to see it and hear it. how others can pass judgement from a distance is beyond me.  AND whilst I am on my soapbox - I thought the "Recent Sightings" page on SOS was for sightings -nuff said

Oddly enough birdsong is part of a thread that has been developing with me over the last three weeks. I found myself on Lavington Plantation - surrounded by birds in full flow and I have to admit once I got past the commoner species, song recognition became distinctly poor. I decided to remedy this and purchased several books, CDs and technical acoutrements to gain 'The Knowledge'. To date I have learnt that Great Tits have a wide range of calls, also what a Willow Warbler sounds like and positively identified one in my garden. The lowlight was turning on the bird voice device in the garden and sending one of the resident Coal Tits into an apoplectic fit - I have learnt that there is a proper time and place for the use of such items and mid April does not appear to be a good time.

The thread continues because I had decided, sometime ago, to attend the inaugral London Wild Bird Watch held at the London Wetlands Centre at Barnes. As I am a member of the WWT my entry was free and I only had to pay to attend any specialist lectures. Among the host of exhibitors was " The Sound Approach" - a company specialising in the identification of birds by their calls and song.  The attentive salesperson  was made even keener by my interest  and I have to say, laid back when I asked for a demonstration of the difference between a Common and Iberian Chiffchaff. "No problem Sir - don these super stereo headphones and cop this ! " was his reply.  Not only did I hear the calls of said species but he threw in the  Siberian Chiffchaff and showed me the ""sonagrams" - a visual representation - of each. Needless to day I was hooked and added yet another book to an already overweight bag.

Very rarely do I endorse exhibitions but I have to say this was the "Bees Knees". The organisation, facilities, demonstrations and stalls were all top notch. Everyone was pleasant and helpful - especially the Macro Masterclass laid on by Sony and the Canon crew aided and abetted by Park Cameras who diminished my bank account by a considerable amount and the WWT volunteer staff who were keen to show off their great facility. All in all a great day out.

Oh and a year tick as I wandered through Barnes Common - Ring-necked Parakeet.

Peter Scott statue - London Wetlands Centre - Barnes

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good visit then Dave had thought about it having had an invite from Park Cameras but decided to stay at home. No doubt i would have been tempted to relieve myself of some hard earned cash.