Thursday, July 30, 2009

The many voices of a Scottish Whinchat

Back in early June I made a sound recording of a Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) in Glen Brerachan in Perthshire, Scotland. It was early morning (0540h), misty and a light drizzle was threatening to become heavier. Within a ten minute period this male surprised me with its vocal mimicry as it sang from a silver birch slope overlooking a juncus rush marsh. I recognised at least 15 avian species plus the sound of a distant lamb (of which there were several grazing nearby) and quite probably a frog (also abundant in the area). Several other phrases may have been from unknown species picked up in the wintering quarters in Africa. The Corn Bunting/Corncrake combination suggests that this bird was reared, or spent a previous breeding season, in either the Western Isles (Outer Hebrides) or even Eastern Europe. The rain put paid to further recording and I did not manage to find time to revisit the area later in the week. Hopefully I will be able to relocate this male on territory in 2010 for futher sound samples.


Incorporating thrush mimicry; single verse consisting of Mistle Thrush alarm rattle followed by three phrases of Blackbird song.


Finch mimicry; a single verse consisting of rearranged Chaffinch song (trill-flourish-trill).


Bunting mimicry; a single verse consisting of a very close representation of Corn Bunting song.



Multi-species mimicry in a single delivery; two rasps of Corncrake advertising song followed by territorial vocalisation of a displaying lapwing, and almost certainly a frog vocal.


Wader mimicry; a single verse consisting of two unrecogisable phrases and the start of Curlew terriorial vocalisation.


Hirundine mimicry; a single verse consisting of the dry chirps of a House Martin followed by possible Acrocephalus vocalisations.


Mammal mimicry; a single verse consisting of a representation of a distant lamb, followed by an unknown phrase.



Thrush mimicry; a single verse consisting of probable Nightingale phrases.


Wader mimicry; a single verse consisting of the piping flight call of Oystercatcher.


Bunting mimicry; a single verse consisting of Reed Bunting song, followed by an unknown phrase.



Thrush mimicry of two vocalisation types from the same species; a single verse consisting of Robin call followed by song phrases.


Hirundine mimicry; a single verse consisting of the fast, dry flight twitter of Barn Swallow.


Warbler mimicry; a single verse consisting of the first few phrases of Willow Warbler song.


Wren mimicry; a single verse consisting of various phrases of Wren song.


Wren mimicry; a single verse consisting of almost 3 seconds of various phrases of Wren song.

1 comment:

Devil Birder said...

wow! amazing material. I had no idea they did this. Nice job.