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.