December 03, 2011

The silent season

At this time of year it is the birdsong I miss. On an hour's walk around the South London streets this morning I heard only a gull crying to its mate above the rooftops, a blackbird's alarm call and the distant twittering of what I suspect were long-tailed tits, invisible in someone else's garden.

There was no robin's silvery trill, although they do still sing at this time of year; no thrush's rattle or repeated notes, no wood pigeon with its comforting coo. And, of course, none of the summer migrants: no swifts screaming high overhead, no chiff chaff singing its own name. Even our great tits won't shout 'teacher! teacher!' again until spring.