Autumn virtuoso, French Alps (1,000m asl)

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
Apologies for the faint recording, I just pointed my mobile phone in the direction of the bird. We're used to the mimicry and variety of Marsh Warbler here in May/June but this species comes a close second when it does this Autumn subsong. All the sounds you hear (apart from the cow bells nearby;)) were being produced by this individual, including the eerie owl-like gargle.
I made other recordings in a ten minute spell but cars or aircraft passing spoiled the result. Among the species I heard it mimicking were Black Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chiffchaff and Blue Tit.
I only ever hear it doing this in September, what do you think it is?


  • New Recording.m4a
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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
You can’t beat an Icky when it’s on a roll and I’ve heard RB Shrikes make some interesting vocals - it’s amazing just how many birds mimic other species (including mimicking animals too!)

Eurasian Jays are surprisingly good mimics ...

Richard Prior

Halfway up an Alp
No Starlings here now Jos, but Jay is a good call Deb, it’s in fact a Black Redstart, the male that raised two broods and now is singing for joy as he’s no longer any responsibilities ( modern parents eh.....).