If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday 10 July 2011


Pretty sure I heard a nightingale singing in the woods behind the house just now. It sang for about five minutes and has now stopped. It was singing long enough for me to find a recording on Youtube, and also an audio file on the RSPB website, and I was able to listen to the recordings through the headphones while I could still hear the bird outside through the open window.

According to the distribution map on the RSPB site, they are not generally found in Wales, but this has been a warm summer and perhaps they have made it a bit further North and West than is usual. Also, the RSPB says they sing until early June and leave in July. So I could be imagining all this. But it's a very distinctive song, and it sounded like nothing else we have round here.

I have only heard one once before, in the South of France on a summer's evening. It's magical.


  1. But does it sound as sweet as a Ducati at full throttle; or, a Goldie with an open megaphone?

  2. Of course not, silly. It's only a bird.

  3. There is a bird behind my house that imitates the sound of a car alarm being activated.
    Sort of a 'bleep, blup'.
    I've no idea what it is.

  4. Me neither, but there is one in my neighbour's garden that does a perfect old-style mobile ringtone, sort of brrrp-brrrp noise. It's baffling.

  5. I do hope it was a nightingale, but it could have been a robin. Starlings are very good mimics, especially of telephones.

  6. We have gazillions of robins round here, so you could be right, although having just listened to a sound sample the one I heard was much more melodious and varied. I was minded of the word 'extravagant'; it was pointlessly beautiful. As I understand it, robins in towns often sing through the night because the streetlights persuade them it is still daytime, and there isn't a streetlight within three miles of here. My money's still on the nightingale.

    I suspect you are right on the starlings for the imitative calls. Phones, car alarms, farm animals, whatever. I like starlings, cheeky buggers that they are.

  7. Starlings are definitely the strutting Teddy Boys of the bird world wearing their sparkling irridescent bluey-green waistcoats.
    I must recommend this recent R4 prog on birdsong.


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