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