International Dawn Chorus Day

Robins, blackbirds, members of the tit family, a song thrush, chaffinches and a chiff chaff all featured in our dawn chorus on Sunday morning, May 3rd, along with the less melodious calls of rooks and gulls in the background.

Proceedings started with a performance of a blackbird’s rich song close to our home soon after our alarm went off around 4.30am.

The weather, however, didn’t seem too promising. It was windy and there were already a few spots of rain. Well, we were up now and Reffley Spring Wood was only just round the corner, so we continued with our plan to mark the now worldwide event.

The wind had a bit of a bite to it as we stood in the first section of the 8.4 acre patch of ancient woodland surrounded by various songs and calls. We picked out wood pigeon, chiff chaff, chaffinch, robin, blackbird and the “squeaky pump” of a great tit.

Two muntjac deer wandered across centre stage, partially hidden amongst the fresh greenery, to melt away somewhere out of our view.

Further on, we sat on a tree trunk near where clumps of wild garlic were sporting their spiky white flowers. Now we were more in the middle of the wood and it seemed like there were more songs, some of which we didn’t know. Not for the first time, we wished we could recognise more bird song.

Over the previous two weeks, the woodland had altered quite considerably, with leaves developing on the trees and shrubs, making it more difficult for us to spot the singers in the first place!

It was still chilly in the breeze and a few drops of rain filtered through the leaves.

By the time we reached the far edge of the wood, it was raining heavily. Nevertheless, I couldn’t resist hurrying to the pond to see if the young moorhens were there, but I only saw one adult along with the two resident muscovies and four or five male mallards.

As we turned to walk back home through the shelter of the woods, a sharp burst of song came from the wings. A song thrush had arrived to give the grand finale! I love to hear the song thrush as it is a brilliant singer and a declining species.

The thrush was belting out his song constantly as we walked along the path, but despite being close to us, no amount of peering up through the rain and leaves would reveal the bird. The rain certainly hadn’t dampened his enthusiasm!

Looking up at a rook’s nest high in a tree which was still without much leaf coverage, I wondered how they got on in such weather.

A splash of blue caught my eye on the way back. It turned out to be a large patch of forget-me-not growing in profusion alongside a drainage ditch.

I first became aware of ” International Dawn Chorus Day” last year, although the event has actually been going for 30 years. It was started by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country and now takes place in more than 80 countries.

A chance to hear nature’s very own music is well worth the early start!


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