A Very Early Start

Cover of the book, rewild yourself by Simon Barnes.
Rewild Yourself by Simon Barnes

We got up at 4.30 this morning. We weren’t heading to the airport for a flight to an exotic location (ha!), we went to the park and the local woods. We actually did this a couple of weeks ago, but realised pretty quickly that we were too late. A bit of explanation. I bought the husband a book by Simon Barnes for Christmas – Rewild Yourself  has a simple concept in describing lots of different ways of getting closer to nature and noticing it more. We already did most of them, going birding, walking regularly and just sitting and watching, but we knew that we were missing out on a great event every single day. Since the turn of the year birdsong before sunrise has increased in volume and complexity. Instead of lying in bed trying to work out the half heard song of a robin in the garden, we made a decision to go out and actually listen to the ‘dawn chorus’ on a regular basis. 

We’ve had some pretty grim weather over the last week or so but today looked to be ideal, no rain till later and the wind had subsided. We left the house just before 5 am, when it was officially nautical twilight (according to my Sun app). It was an hour and 15 minutes before sunrise. There was a slight hint of light in the sky as we made our way past the pond and down towards the park.  My goodness we weren’t disappointed. Like the good students we are, we had done some revision last night from the RSPB quick guide to birdsong.  This really paid off and we identified robins, blackbirds, song thrushes, wrens, great tits, dunnocks, house sparrows, nuthatches and a lovely surprise of a tawny owl. The last is one we never hear during the day of course.  The sun rose at 6.15 as we wandered back home for a very welcome coffee.  We may have to have nap later today.

We are going to make this a weekly event as there will be new arrivals all the time as the summer visitors arrive. Now we know all the residents, we can hopefully start to recognise the new ones as they arrive for the breeding season.  


  1. Crikey! Talk about enthusiastic!!! I tend to be an early waker, but that doesn’t mean riser. I do try and identify the birdsong from my bed while sipping my Tetleys. However, I am more likely to go walking just at dusk when they all join in one loud chorus once again. I can’t identify any of them though, except for the hoopoe and owl! So I’m really pleased about the RSPB link that you have included, as I’ll definitely be using that. I’m also learning about the noises of the various creatures that frequent our area, including the fox (easy) and boar (grunt and sore-throat snorty cough), as well as the gecko (cluck, cluck, cluck), deer (easy again) and the more ambiguous mongoose (the surprising plural being mongooses and not mongeese!).
    Happy early rising and bird listening!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was really worth it and so lovely to be out in the park and the woods on our own. I am afraid the same walk at dusk would have lots of dog walkers and possibly some early drinkers.There was a selection of empty bottles on the picnic table in the childrens play park yesterday morning. 😦

    We do get foxes here and we had a beautiful pair in our garden earlier this year, but the rest of your animals are very exotic for our location. Thank you for the clarification on mongooses! What sort of deer do you get there? We’ve sat into some online birding talks from southern Spain, both closer to the coast than you are. It was lovely to see the sunshine and the birds. We have our fingers crossed for a visit later this year.


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