Long ago, while I sat in the university library in Durham, I used to thumb through their complete collection of BB's and other journals, while I was supposed to be revising, or working on some other sort of school work. I can't remember where I read it, or what it was that I was supposed to be doing, but a certain piece struck an immediate chord with me. In it, someone was describing the nocturnal passage of greenshanks, black tailed godwits and spotted redshanks (among others), over Cambridge, I believe. I must have been about 17, and 'birding' for over 10 years, but the idea that you could identify these birds confidently, solely based on their calls, was a massive eye opener. In that instant, I realised how little I knew and how much I'd been missing.
Fast forward to more recent times, birding with some of the guys I knew from Aberdeen university. I considered myself a decent birder but almost all of the other competent guys I knew had a much better ear than me. I resolved to do something about it. In spite of that being some time ago, and my ear developing somewhat, I still consider myself to be relatively green compared to my friends and this blog is part of how I'm addressing that. I'm learning to listen, and with the aid of a mic, and some software, I'm learning to understand more about what I'm listening to.
Birding by ear has been clarified, popularised and revolutionised recently by the Sound Approach. However, despite this, there are still many good birders out there who don't know how to make a noise into a sonogram, or perhaps, are in a similar position to me, and are just keen to learn. This blog will hopefully help on both counts.