I was sat in bed this morning, reading the paper (well, the online version), and vaguely aware of birdsong flowing in through the open window. The sounds were more varied than might be expected, not because of a huge number of choristers, but more for the exploits of a particular Starling.
It is possible that this bird's mission in life is to bamboozle my brain, but today it overplayed its hand. One short and unmelodic refrain was clearly a Corncrake, sadly, a species so unlikely in the environs of Tense Towers that I instantly knew it wasn't a Corncrake, but a mimicking Starling. My very next thought was...
"How does it know a Corncrake's call?!"
Whilst there are usually small numbers of this skulking and secretive bird present in Orkney during the Summer, I was not aware of any birds being recorded as holding a territory (and therefore calling) in East Mainland. So, was the Starling a visitor from somewhere else that does have a Corncrake territory, or has the call been handed down through the Hurtiso Starling flock from generation to generation, like some avian oral tradition?
And on the subject of birdsong, the latest music track I have downloaded is (incredible though it may seem for such a 60s/70s/80s guy) a just-released one, the RSPB's Let Nature Sing.
Melodic and for a good cause, win win.