Saturday, 25 April 2009

Orgasmic! Volume turned up to 11!

Trying to Photograph Nightingales can be a frustrating experience -
Nice one of the legs
C'mon, show us your wings!
75% of the bird visible! But the light's wrong
Tail Obscured
That's a little bit better
Almost completely unobscured
But I'm just a Little Brown Job
Best of a bad bunch?
Oh yes, there were some other birds worth looking at - Jay
Went with John Sadler to see if we could hear any Nightingales - knew there was no chance of seeing this elusive, shy brown bird, with an apparently out-of-the-ordinary voice. Well, we heard one just after we started, but it was on the dog walking path! This was a lifer for John, but we then got a glimpse of it in some thick vegetation. It was very difficult to see the whole bird without some greenery getting in the way, as the first images show. However, we persevered and occasionally the bird perched in an exposed spot, but usually before our cameras could be readied it had moved off. We gave up on the dog walking area bird & tried a spot near the railway line which bisects the reserve. Here, a bird was belting out its varied, amazing, extraordinary voice - there are hardly enough superlatives to describe its vocal range & variety of song - though dozens of poets have tried! However, it was the volume of this particular bird, which was the most striking feature. Unlike the earlier bird, it had no Black-headed Gulls or Willow Warblers to compete with and its song just poured from its perch in dense cover, but that was only the start. Suddenly the bird changed gear & pumped out its operatic aria at a jaw-dropping volume. What a star, and it wasn't even at night - when its song usually tends to have more of an impact. In total we think we heard five different Nightingales, and had good views of four of them. When we'd got our hearing back we had a walk round the Willow Walk. John spotted all the birds worth seeing - including Chiffchaff, Willow Tit & Jay - while I tried to identify the various voices coming from the thick cover. We both saw our first Common Whitethroat of the year, and a Lesser Whitethroat was skulking about, but of course the day belonged to the Night-ingale. An experience which will remain in the memory for a long time.


James said...

Sounds like a corking day. Just a little jealous!

John said...

Great day out today Michael. Going to have to make this an annual pilgrimage to hear these beauties

Vince Cowell said...

We are hoping to get down there next week when we are off. Hoping the weather is fine and we get as good a show as you did.

Michael Flowers said...

James, only a "little jealous" - I can't have written it up well enough!

John, I agree it's definitely worth going to their concert at least once a year - wonder if they do a guided tour in an evening? -'cos that would be pretty stunning.

Vince, good luck!