Monday, 4 June 2012

Bird Arias

Currently we are being well and truly spoilt with our dawn chorus. Three birds especially are adding a little bit of extra magic to it all.

Back in March we posted about the ariel cuckoo battle which took place over our house. Since then at least one cuckoo has been in residence and we hear cuckoo-ing from regular perches round the house which seems to be at the centre of the patrol circle.
Cuckoo over the house
When we came back from Edinburgh at the start of May the nightingale had arrived. This year we think there's one, perhaps two, but not three as we had last year. It was quite a nice 'welcome home' to be unloading the car with one of the birds singing at full throttle not far from the house! Certainly for the first two weeks of May the nightingale was very vocal and sang morning noon and night [they do sing during the day as well]. Now we hear the song mainly at night and during the dawn chorus.
Nightingale, [image from Wikipedia]
It was then joined by a bird whose song we hadn't heard before and which really perplexed us. Like the other two species, it also seems to have a territory which has our house roughly at the centre. We couldn't see the bird so had no idea of its size or colour. Its call was reminiscent of a mynah bird. We tried to find possible suspects by running various internet searches describing its call as a 'fluting whistle'. All led to nothing.
However, running into Tim & Pauline in Le Grand Pressigny recently when we were having a coffe and people watching [it was market day] solved our mystery. When we described the call as reminding us of a mynah bird they both said "Ah, Golden Oriole. You won't see it, it is very good at keeping out of sight."
male Golden Oriole, [image from Wikipedia]
How right they were! Even though we now know what it looks like and checked its song on the xeno-canto website [great recordings of a huge range of bird species] just to make sure we had the right bird; we haven't seen it. Nor have we ever seen a nightingale. Mind you given its very bright plumage it makes sense for the Golden Oriole to keep well hidden!!

It's a great way to be woken, even if it is very very early!!


19 comments:

the fly in the web said...

In a previous house they nested in the wellingtonia and to our fury the cat got the youngsters.

Niall & Antoinette said...

Happily our two moggies catch mostly mices [and sadly lizards] and bird corpses are few.

Vera said...

When I have time I would love to investigate the bird song around us. I totally agree with you, bird song is magic, even if it comes so early in the day, but not as early as our cockerel, who is super duper efficient at waking everyone up!

Carolyn said...

The drive you took, from Loches along the river to Artannes, is one of our favorite drives in that part of the world. We go as far as Sache before turning around. I love those bridges full of flowers.

What a bright bird to have in your garden; hope they stay.

Great new header photo.

Carolyn said...

I can comment again. Thank you!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera - we're definitely novices but the website proved very helpful in verifying some of our guesses.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Carolyn - nice to read your comments again too :-)
As we understand it they are summer visitors and will migrate south for winter as do the cuckoo and nightingale. Hopefully they will be regular visitors.

Pollygarter said...

I spent several birdwatching weekends in Norfolk failing to see nightingales and orioles. The only nightingale I've ever seen was alas a sad little corpse, in Crete, roadkill I think. I eventually got lucky with orioles though. YOu just have to find one that believes you can't see it!

Susan said...

I've never managed to get a bead on the orioles, but I got some almost decent photos of a nightingale in full flow a couple of weeks ago, in the Brenne.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Pauline - we'll keep trying. think we need to perfect our 'slidling up to trees' technique. They always see us coming :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - lucky you :-)

GaynorB said...

Pauline is really good at identifying a bird from it's song.We have an RSPB bird book with a CD of bird calls to aid identification.

I wish I was better at such things, although with age my eyesight isn't what it was either!

Perpetua said...

I've never even heard a nightingale or oriole in the flesh, let alone seen them, so am green with envy over here. The cuckoo has been conspicuous by its absence this spring too, so I'm feeling deprived as well as envious. :-) Love your header photo!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - we are very lucky. All 3 birds are identified in the UK as having 'red' status according to RSPB when we did some finding out about them on their site. Happily here on mainland Europe they're doing fine. We'd never heard any of them in the UK either.
Thanks --it's the Aigronne.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - think we have the same book but we blanched at the thought of going through the whole CD on spec :-) Especially when it takes Tim & Pauline all of 2 seconds :-))

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

How interesting, we have these three here in Northern Lazio as well! On a bright night the nightingale can wake us with singing, hence the name do you think?

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

I hope you will not mind if I maybe do a bird post sometime thanks to your inspiration. I will link back to this post if I do to show the similarities.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@LindyLou - we've been woken up by their song too; it can really carry in the night air.
And we won't mind in the slightest :-)

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Thanks it may not happen but if I do one I will link back, it was so interesting to discover we have the same garden visitors.