Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 30/04/2012

1,000 Words.


Don’t be alarmed, Dear Reader, this isn’t a forecast of the length of today’s blog, it’s a reference to an new piece of technology I read about today… a camera that instead of taking a picture will attempt to describe it, printing out the results. I’m not sure how verbose the resulting description might be, and obviously the more complex the picture, the longer the description. As my photos tend to be close-up wildlife portraits, I suspect rather than the 1,000 words a picture could paint mine would be fairly terse, such as …”Lion” or “Lizard” or “Eagle”!

The last month or so have been pretty tiring, and I’m finding myself lacking in energy today, despite the beautiful sunny weather we’ve been experiencing all day. With the sky peppered with stratus cumulus clouds, such days remind me of a song from the ’90s by . Atypical of my record collection (for those young ‘uns who may be unsure what are record collection is, it’s like your MP3 collection backup, only limited to one album release per disk… I know, I know… a bit old hat.. good job I wasn’t describing my collection of vinyl!).

A new wildlife opportunity presented itself today, and an exciting one at that. Despite a punishing sports schedule after school (an hour of hockey followed by 45 minutes of swimming) my boy still wanted to play football in the back garden when we got home. As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, our house backs on to woodland which is always full of bird life, and at this time of year, bird song. Wrens, Robins, Dunnocks, various Thrushes can be heard calling first thing in the morning or late at night, I’ve even heard Bullfinch, Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers but what really got me excited this evening was a cross between a frog and a cow, a most distinctive call which if you’ve heard it will be instantly recognisable… the call of the Woodcock.

An incredibly secretive bird, preferring to sleep during the day and play during the night, they’re an incredibly difficult bird to see, hiding amongst the leaf litter of wooded areas their plumage is perfectly adapted to camouflage them during the day. I’ve only ever seen a woodcock once, through a scope, and even then it was only a partial view, though I have heard one once before in the wood. I will have to spend the next few evenings looking out over the woods to see if they are Roding, no they’re not appreciating the works of the 19th Century Sculptor (Rodin), it’s the name given to the display the males give just after dusk – honest (and that’s not a euphemism for “Going Down The Pub” – I’ve tried that already).

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