Sound comes readily to me. It's a big part of the way I interpret the world. So bird songs have always been easy to learn, as have new languages. In the same way I've never had any problem understanding English-speakers with widely different accents to my own. It came as a surprise then, a couple of years ago, to learn that I didn't have a good grasp of a Hull accent.
Bright eight-year-old lad from Hull (while pond-dipping with me): I saw a turd.
Marsh tit (unsure quite how to respond): Erm... what sort of a turd was it?
Bright eight-year-old lad from Hull: Well, I don't think it was a natterjack.
This evening Leanne and I saw six turds, two of them common and four of them natterjacks. We were wandering along the top of a wild beach, through an ankle-shredding stand of prickly saltwort, listening to the murmur of redshank and ringed plover on the low-tide mud. The natterjacks were a delight: rotund, squat, absurdly short-legged, beady-eyed and very charismatic. They scuttled into the marram at our approach and we took care not to disturb these threatened and highly protected animals. On our way back we saw a frog in my headlights - our third amphibian in the space of an hour - and I had to stop the car to usher him across the road. A little further on a young fox needed no such help.
On the beach as darkness fell I glimpsed a rabbit in the distance and, before I could see what it was, said, 'What's that?'. 'Lion,' answered Leanne, sardonically.
New on a wild beach tonight