Boom Boom Kark Kark Reggae Reggae Red Eyes

On 24/04/2016 I did my first trip to Old Moor. As a real novice I had no idea what to expect. By my local bird club had been the week before to see a bittern and had no luck so I went on my own. And I saw one - much to my amazment.

I dont know how many times I have been since - but  its a lot!  I have learned a bit too.   Yesterday the reed bed walk was quiet - that is nt a great variety of birds. But you could not really say quiet! Those gulls are back and there was some great gullantics going on. The noise was amazing and it made me wonder how many bird songs I had learned since my first visit. 

1. Black backed gulls go kark kark reggae reggae  - well that is what they sound like to me! 

2. The "Basil Brush" bird goes Boom Boom. 

3. Reed Buntings  make a pretty  sound including a tweet tweet tweet  Twt Twt Twt Tweel

4. Little Grebes - such a delight with their descending slightly frantic warble. 

and in the Tree Sparrow Farm was the quiet slightly melancholy whistle of the bull finch. 

  As there say on Radio 4 its amazing what you hear when you listen.  I was not lucky  enough to see a hare but a rabbit made an appearance instead. Ive no idea what noise they make if any.   

But popping back to the reedbed hide for a moment  I was watching a pochard. And a thought struck me. What advantage is there in having red eyes? I know a few species of bird who have these. I googled it and founf the following article - but you have to subscribe to read it all!

Can anyone help me on this question please? 

  • You had a lovely day out WB, loving your explanations of the bird sounds!!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Lovely photos and descriptions of the various songs!
    Interesting question about red eyes. So, I looked it up too. From a quick search, it seems eye colour can develop according to habitat and or behaviour, eg I found woodland corvid species tend to have more colourful eyes than those from grasslands. Colour can also change with age (eg Bearded Tits) and maybe used as an indicator of adulthood or seniority and it can change when entering breeding plumage (eg pelicans) and so signify that. Thinking about it, it is mainly the diving ducks that have colourful eyes, eg Tufties, Goldeneye and Pochard. However, I didn't find anything to suggest people understand why a specific colour, like red or yellow, develops in any particular species.
    I can't read the New Scientist article either, but it seems to be about advantages for birds like Great Crested Grebes. As far as I know both sexes of GCGrebes have red eyes, so even if they find (or speculate) an advantage, I would be suspicious about applying this to Pochard, where only the male is red eyed. My guess for Pochard is that it is just part of breeding plumage in the male and the fact it is red isn't really indicative of anything, however I am just guessing from a quick and non-exhaustive search.


    Nige   Flickr

  • Thanks for that information Nigel O. I have a pal who might be able to get me the New Scientist peice. Its an interesting topic :-) .