Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Following the comments

European Dipper, found on fast flowing upland streams and rivers.

I don't know how many of you follow the comments on blogs, and check them out for further comments, but sometimes we have wonderful discussions going on "behind the scenes." The latest (yesterdays' comments) has been about a couple of American birds, the Purple Finch, and the Red-winged Blackbird. I have been Googling them to discover more about them and thought I would share the following link with anyone who has an inquisitive mind:



You can listen to their calls too - the Blackbird is really raucous and jungle-like, nothing like the genteel English Blackbird.


Here, the above site gives a list of the more regularly seen birds:


where you can identify different garden bird and common species and learn about them.

I did a short walk today, and was hoping to see the Dipper down by the river, but there were none to be seen, though I lingered for a while on the bridge.

I have discovered, if you really go looking, you can source videos - here is our Eurasian Dipper, in various poses:



  1. I live in Northern Illinois in the US, and the return of the male red-winged blackbirds (they come ahead to stake out their territories) is one of the earliest presages of spring. They're here now, and we also have many purple finches at the sunflower seed feeders. It is fun for me to see your many different birds in your photos.

  2. I think my whole comment just disappeared somewhere. If two show up, just delete the redundant one. Referencing the Red-winged Blackbird: did you listen to a recording of its call designated as "oakalee"--loud, perhaps, but surely not racuous[?] It's cousin, the Yellow-Headed Blackbird is not as widespread, never encountered it until living in Wyoming. It is a gaudily beautiful thing, but does have a louder and harsher voice. I stood at the window watching the activity at the feeder late this afternoon. The morning's birds were joined by Juncos [so plump and tidy] and a woodpecker which I beleive was the Hairy Woodpecker. As the light was fading I turned to the windows that face onto the horse pasture. Four white-tailed deer were advancing on the hay stack. The arrival of my husband in the pickup startled them and they bounded ahead of him up the drive and around the pond, melting away into the dark of the trees along the irrigation ditch.
    I've been waiting for someone to comment on the difference between the English and American Robins. Ours is called "Turdus Migratorious"--I'm wondering if the Latin Turdus means what it sounds like.

  3. Kate - glad you enjoy my fuzzy photos. I will improve, honest, but the nut net ones are shot at distance through my kitchen window! I am enjoying learning about the American birds too.

    MM - only one comment turned up. Just checked out your American "Robin" which to me would be a member of the Thrush family, especially from the Latin name. Our British Robin is Erithacus rubecula melophilus, and as I'm sure you know, very much smaller and a different chappy altogether. The call I listened to for your Red-winged Blackbird was on the link on this post. NOISY! Off to check the Junco now! (Oh what a lovely sweet call it has).

  4. My American friend has robins in her back garden, I was really surprised the first time I saw one, it's so different to our English robin. Saw a dipper on the river earlier this week BB, there is a pair every summer but only one so far this year, both the grey wagtails are back though.

  5. Rowan - Our Dippers nest under the bridge (a favourite spot on all rivers I believe). We have the grey Wagtails by the river and bobbing on the farm wall sometimes (it's pretty soggy round here). I love to see them - I thought they were so exotic looking when I was a child.

  6. Just listened to that recording of the red-winged blackbird--I don't think it does justice to the call--they aren't that piercing and harsh in reality. I took note of several calling nearby when I went out to hang laundry this morning--it really is music to my winter-weary soul!