Today we drove over 50 miles for our annual pilgrimage to try and hear and actually see the elusive Nightingale. I arrived at 8.18am to have a look round. There were quite a lot of cars blocking the car park already, so it looked as though it was going to busy. However, many of these were dog walkers coming early to take their dogs around the reserve before the car parking charges came into being.
Sure enough there were 3 big lenses right at the junction where you normally obtain the best views. I carried on a bit further and arrived at another open area, where a Nightingale was singing in full view. Later, when we went round again the 3 at the front got another excellent view of a nightingale even closer to us. Unfortunately, this time my camera refused to focus on the bird, but the one at 8.30 has come out OK, as the photo shows.
There was another Nightingale a little further up, and another just a few yards further on. Later, there was a bush near a junction which had 3 males singing snatching of song in between scuffles. There may have been a silent 4th bird present, and this may have been the cause of the antagonism. When we walked this way later, there was still one in the area, but now there was a Common Whitethroat and a Blackcap.
We heard at least 2 Garden Warblers on the way round, and on of them perched briefly in a bare tree, so a couple of us managed to glimpse it in our binoculars, before it disappeared over the railway line. We carried on and on the way back we had a good view of a Lesser Whitethroat. Some uplifting birding encounters, and then another 50+ miles drive back home.