Sunday, 29 April 2012

2012 Dawn Chorus

The Dawn Chorus coincided with one of the few mornings without any rain.  A Barn Owl flew alongside as we approached the wood.  It was very dark when we arrived at the woodland to the songs of Robins & Blackbirds.  The most noticeable sound at first was a male Tawny Owl which called several times & seemed to be leading us along the path.  Eventually, a female also called, and there was also what sounded like the call of a chick.
Only resident birds sang at first followed by a Willow Warbler then a Blackcap, and then the Chiffchaffs started up.  It wasn’t a really bright morning, so the actual sightings of the singing birds was on the low side.  It reached a very muddy spot where both of my boots let in the water & Liz ‘s wellies were swallowed by the mud & one of them had to be pulled out!  The water up to my ankles felt icy cold at first, but constant walking seemed to raise the temperature a little.  A Treecreeper was heard, but stubbornly remained hidden in the gloom.
The heath seemed pretty sterile with just another Willow Warbler heard.  A couple of Red-legged Partridges and a Hare ran across a bare field, but they didn’t contribute to the aural atmosphere.  At this point Lisa slipped into pole position and a few minutes later flushed a bird which she thought may have been a Sparrowhawk.  However, Brian spotted it had very pointed wings, and that added to its flight from the ground leads me to believe it was a Woodcock.  A Marsh Tit was the only other bird of interest along this path.  
Laughing Green Woodpeckers punctuated the morning a few times, but on the return journey I was stopped in my tracks by a nasal twang – sure enough a single Brambling seemed to be pecking at Silver Birch buds or catkins at the top of a tree.  This remained in place long enough for everyone to see it & was a ‘lifer’ for Pam.  A Swallow, some Shelduck & Greylag Geese flew over us when we reached the heath again.  A pair of yellowhammers stopped off briefly, and some Skylarks serenaded us.  A Roe Deer leaped through a crop & travelled away from us.  In this strange late Spring the obvious holes in the chorus were a lack of Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Cuckoo & Turtle Dove – let’s hope they will soon be with us.
When I got back home a Brambling turned up there too & on taking my nephew round the Sunk Island area we saw our first Cuckoo of the year.

Brambling - waiting for me at home
 Brambling - as it was during the Dawn Chorus
 Woodcock - seen by 2 people on the Dawn Chorus
(an old pic from Tophill Low)
 Brambling at Home
 Song Thrush - another unusual visitor at home
 Cuckoo - as photographed after the Dawn Chorus near Patrington

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