Friday, March 11, 2011

Winter #26: Catalan

March 11
8am-8:45am, vineyards outside Vilafranca del Penedes, Catalunya, Spain
crisp, varying overcast and building clouds

I'll admit, I had the thought almost before hearing my first bird this morning: will the bird-sounds here relate linguistically to Catalan (the native language)? Is there some kind of discernible connection between the birds and the culture here?

On sight, I was entranced by the large, long-tailed, strikingly black and white magpies, the bosses of the vineyard. They seemed like a stylish European take on our common crow, just as the eyeglass fashion in Spain is more colorful and bold than American spectacles.

Unfortunately, the internet later revealed that magpies are also common birds in the (western) U.S. So much for my theory!

Still, it was fun to follow the cross-cultural train of thought. It seemed to me that their little sparrow birds were more distinctively-striped, the flight patterns more contoured, the "Yeti" call here more flamboyant, etc.

My Bird of the Day (heard but not seen):

His calls were very spread out, as you can hear here (if you have patience to wait for the second call!):

There were several other interesting birds I heard today, but I am trying to stick to my one bird rule. However, I can't resist one more recording!

These birds sound like the Catalan cousins of my familiar Arboretum birds in Boston: the Iberian version of the American Goldfinch's "huh?", plus an appearance of the Catalan Yeti (sounding like Boston's Cardinal or Nuthatch):

At home, I started sketching a piece based on the different melodic shapes of "Good morning" versus "Bom dia".

March 10
sunset, 6-7pm, vineyards outside Vilafranca del Penedes, Catalunya, Spain
comfortable, mostly clear

I saw a magnificent dawn this morning (pink rays bouncing off snow-covered Pyrenees Mountains), but it was from inside a sealed airplane and a bit high for birds.

This evening, sunset in the vineyards. It's gorgeous here, and was quieting down by the time I got out.

However, I did find one hot spot for roosting birds, who were gathering in some tall pines in the local cemetery. It wasn't quite a public strolling grounds, so I recorded from a dirt lot outside the cemetery wall (and hoped the passing soccer families didn't find me too odd). These birds sounded starling-esque to me:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home