Sunday, 7 June 2015

30 Days Wild Day 7: Dawn Chorus

As I'm typing this, I'm starting to feel the impact of this morning's random act of wildness. I'm tempted to go to bed and catch up on my rest but it's only 6.30pm! I got up at 4am, just as daylight had started to filter through the trees and the first robins had begun to sing. Listening to the dawn chorus is something I meant to do back in April/May but I just never got round to it. I'm not great at getting up extremely early and usually I associate 4am with going on holiday and getting to the airport to catch an early flight!

I started with just opening my window and letting the fresh, clean early-morning air drift in, along with the keenest of singers, the robins and blackbirds. Their calls dominated the chorus initially, with the song thrush's rattle rattle tseep tseep whistle weaving in between. What I noticed straight away was the unmistakable cuckoo cuckoo of that well known but sadly less common bird. I've only heard the cuckoo twice this year before this morning and it's a sound that emanates warm spring days for me so I was naturally pleased it was included in the chorus.

A few woodpigeons added their cheap cuckoo imitations to the mix and several rooks flew overhead, cawwing at each other. The thrush's song became more pronounced and the variation of phrases grew. I'm fairly certain I heard a goldfinch join the chorus at this point, the sort of rattly tseeep at the end of his song giving him away.

As sunrise grew closer, I moved out into the garden where the great and blue tits were jumping around the bushes and singing merrily. Several pairs of blackbirds performed their laughing calls before chasing each other across the driveway. Activity had picked up and birds were flitting from branch to branch. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the call of a buzzard right above me, obviously hoping that the early bird (of prey) really does get the worm!

On an overhanging branch directly across from where I stood, a beautiful male chaffinch took his place and began his rendition, the creeping light just catching his peachy chest and white wing stripes. By this point, the sun had just started peeking through the trees and was painting the oak leaves with orange. The woodpigeons' call created a blanket of soft noise underneath the higher, chirpier songs.

I do think that if I had managed to listen to this wonderful spectacle earlier in spring, the sound would have been triple what it was this morning. Obviously many of these birds have already found mates, laid eggs and even raised their chicks by now, so the object of singing is not so competitive as it would have been in April. Having said that, it was lovely to stand and listen, with no other noises interfering. It was very peaceful and a relaxing way to start the day.

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