Dawn Chorus

In the latest RSPB magazine “Nature’s Home”, Simon Barnes encourages us to go out and listen to the dawn chorus. Unfortunately this means getting up and out very early.

So at 04:57 on Easter Sunday, I found myself walking into the wood. It was still dark despite the full moon. Fortunately I’d taken a torch, and also a warm jacket and gloves – even though we were experiencing a mini-heatwave, at that time of the morning it was a very chilly 5 degrees. It was light by 05:30, and by 07:00 I was back in the car on the way home, cold but having enjoying the wood all to myself.

I was able to distinguish  at least 10 bird species by song or call; blackbird, song thrush, wren, chiffchaff, willow warbler, blackcap, great tit, great spotted woodpecker, pheasant, crow, wood pigeon – but I’m sure there were others that I missed, I’m certainly no expert.

I have some basic recording equipment so I was able to capture some of it, which was my real intention. Sunday morning, stupidly early, so I assumed there would be no noise from the motorway to mess things up. How wrong I was. What were all those people doing on the motorway at 05:30??

So here are a few of the recordings.

The first is representative of the general cacophony, although that description is maybe a bit unfair, perhaps “uncoordinated competition” is better.

It’s quite long and there are lots of birds to be heard.

For those not too familiar with identifying bird song, here are some examples where individuals are easier to identify. Here is a wren

– they abound in the wood – with a great spotted woodpecker briefly heard drumming in the distance.

In this one, you hear wrens and a song thrush, and after about 45 secs a blackcap starts to join in for a while.

Try to listen in stereo as it gives much more depth – a wren is on the left and the thrush and blackcap on the right.

Finally, here is a willow warbler (with a song thrush in the background):

It has a song that sounds as if it’s been slightly disappointed about something. I’ve not heard one of these in Oakley Wood before – perhaps I wasn’t listening properly or perhaps I thought they were Chaffinches (there is a similarity). Whatever the reason, I was very pleased to hear it.

I really was surprised by how many song thrushes there were in the wood – I heard them everywhere I went.  I’m sure you’ll agree just how wonderful they are to listen to. And like with the trail camera, it’s great to know that there’s more going on in our wood than we are normally aware of.

UPDATE 5 May 2019:

I discovered that Apple technology (iPhone, iPad etc) could not play the format of audio file I’d used, so I’ve changed them to something that should now work.

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