Wednesday 12 May 2010

It's not just Gulls

I have just been comprehensively bamboozled by a Chaffinch. I thought it was mainly Gulls that had the power to reduce me to tears, but no, one of the commonest garden birds can do it too.

On the patch tonight, I was wandering along when I thought I detected a Lesser Whitethroat. I stopped and listened. Yes, it was a Lesser Whitethroat! Or was it? No. Too long, didn't start or finish right, but had the same staccato. Hmm. Hang on! No, it couldn't be, could it? I got my phone out and played Wood Warbler. Wow! That had to be it! I listened some more, it did it again, but then I thought I detected a Chaffinchy flourish at the end, when a Wood Warbler would have finished. If it was a Chaffinch, I have not heard one do this before - and there was what I would call a standard Chaffinch somewhere off to the left. I couldn't find it in the trees, and after about five minutes it stopped. I decided to use this pause to call for reinforcements, for second and third opinions. Luckily they were both busy, as a few minutes later I managed to find it, and guess what, it was a Chaffinch. Little sod.

Now it could be that all Chaffinches have the capacity to produce this particular song variant, and that I am just useless. I'd prefer however to think that this is a unique Chaffinch. I called Hawky, and described what I had been hearing. "Yeah, I've got one that does that in Barking" Ah, useless it is then.

Given that I can't find any good birds, that even common resident birds confuse me, and that it's nearly June (which is, as everyone knows, rubbish), I'm sure you'll forgive me for posting a photo of a moth. I found it this morning on the sage outside the back door, and two passes through the moth guide has failed to establish its identity. If anyone out there knows of any branch of natural history where I stand a chance of actually identifying stuff, please let me know and I'll switch hobbies immediately.

Is this a Squirrel?


  1. I reckon it's one of these, not that you asked... Don't want to get into looking at moths though, there are far too many to learn.

    You're giving up on birds a bit early this year though, there's still loads to see!

  2. Agree, had a couple in the garden last August.

    We could still be utterly wrong, of course.