Tuesday 3 February 2009: Dunnock
Most people will have seen a Dunnock and thought Sparrow, and it is indeed a small brown bird. But next time you see a little brown bird moving along the base of the plant pots or a hedge have a closer look for the telltale grey around the head. The name Dunnock is actually derived (probably) from the Celtic dwn meaning brown. Another Old English word for the bird is Hegesugge which when translated means flutterer in the hedges, Chaucer used this word and referred to the bird's foster parenting of cuckoo's. Where I live one or two of the old birders I see when out birding refer to them as Hedge Chanters. It's song, which today was sadly absent is said by Francesca Greenoak to sound like a ragtime piano.
So you may have guessed I managed to get out and do some birdwatching during lunch today, the first time of the year. only 45 minutes, but I kicked my year list off with a mediocre 17 species.