I’ve never learned to distinguish one birdsong from another. But in the darkness of winter, a tuneful bird can be very noticeable. Especially on a Sunday night, when we’re relatively free of noise pollution.
I have a vivid recollection of midwinter birdsong from a few years ago. I’d been to a new years bash in Saltash, and was cycling back home through the leafier suburbs of Plymouth at about 2 a.m, when I heard several birds, which I took to be nightingales from the tunefulness and time of day. But when I mentioned it, it was suggested they could’ve been blackbirds, confused by the streetlights into nighttime song.
Yesterday (Sunday) just after dusk in Tavistock I heard the same bird, in strange conjunction with the harsh cry of the raven (or is it just a crow?) that is utterly characteristic of English winter. And as I write, I can still hear – intermittently – the nightingale (or is it blackbird?) in the distance.
Alas, I expect it’ll be a while before we get such another quiet night that I can hear birdsong around here.