Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A better way to start the day?

On Tuesday with an aching back due to incorrectly lifting and moving a pot in the garden over the weekend (no comments please, it’s my own fault!) I decided to leave early for work and dropped into Bookham Common to stretch the legs. The early morning sun was still hidden behind cloud so not brilliant light for any pictures but I took the camera just in case. While heading towards the Blackthorn thickets four Jays noisily flew over and the other sounds were from a Robin high on his song perch confirming his overnight survival, a Greenfinch ‘sneezing', and a Blackcap started warbling very close by. Could I get a shot as I crept around the thicket? No he was deep in the shade and responded to my presence by flying away. Next on the list was Chiffchaff and while thinking about a possible photo my attention was broken by the scolding call of, did I hear correctly, yes, a Common Whitethroat [first for the year]. Again I crept closer and closer as it tantalisingly moved ahead of me through an area of brambles providing brief glimpses but never still enough for a photo.
My next encounter was with a dog walker who I have chatted to on many occasions but still don’t know his name (must ask next time). This gentleman does not consider himself as a ‘bird watcher’ but carries his bins and usually tells me what he thinks he has seen or heard. Today was no exception. Apparently shortly after our last encounter in late February when we discussed the recent sightings of Hawfinches behind the station he actually saw one for the first time just yards away from his parked car and 10 minutes after I had driven away. Did I feel “gripped off” – not really, life’s too short and there is always another year! The other important bit of information he imparted was a definite sighting of Cuckoo on 4th April so my ears did not deceive me when I thought I had heard a brief call during a visit last week. I’ll be keeping an eye on the usual song posts to confirm the Cuckoo’s presence.
After we parted I saw both Blackbird and Wren in full song plus a Willow Warbler repeating it’s wistfully descending call from a very tall birch and definitely too high for a photo call. Just about to return to the car and the beautiful repeated phrases from of a Song Thrush caught my attention. I stealthily moved closer and closer to his high perch and whilst partially obscured by branches I finally managed one half decent shot.
With his repetitive phrases changing I started to pack up just as a lady dog walker passed me by and said “Is there a better way to start the day?” As I acknowledged her comment the Song Thrush departed for another song post and I headed to work quietly recalling all the sounds I had heard and knowing that for “The Early Birder” this is the best way to start any day.


  1. I would agree Frank - no better way to start the day - especially with a Songthrush in full song and a great shot of it too! Fair sets you up doesn't it!

    Well done!

  2. Nothing better Tricia. Hopefully we will hear plenty of different sounds on the 2nd May.

  3. is the best way to start the day! Fun post and lovely photo of the Song Thrush. Our Wood Thrush and Hermit Thrushes have such beautiful songs. I imagine your Song Thrush is similar. I'll have to go out and find their song somewhere on the Internet. Nice capture. I have never been able to get a photo of our thrushes...

  4. It is truly a great way to start the day. Great photo.

  5. What an absolutely perfect capture of the Song Thrush, I can almost hear its' sweet music. Greeting the morning with a chorus of singing birds is a perfect start to any day. Regarding your last post...I've never seen such a colorful butterfly..very pretty!

  6. You really get it when it comes to nature. I felt like I was with you. Great description and photos.

  7. Certainly the best way to start any day Frank; and a great post too. Some good sightings in there.
    You sound just like me with names. The ammount of friendly people I've chatted too when I've been out, and when I leave I always think, 'Dam. Didn't even introduce myself properley, and ask their name.' Oh well. :)

  8. So much to hear and see. Hope your back feels some better today Frank. :c)

  9. That was a good "Audio" walk Frank.
    Whitethroats, infuriating little birds, they always seem to be the other side of the hedge.

  10. Hi Frank, you have a lovely blog, and I really liked your subtitle. It got me thinking. and writing. so I blogged about your blog and appreciation...

    happy birding

  11. I would love to find a hawfinch on my patch! Well done with your Whitethroat, I look forward to hearing about more early bird mornings!

  12. A lovely way to start the morning with all those birds! I enjoy your photos of scenery as it makes it easier to visualize the habitat you describe. So very different from the other side of the world!

  13. Hello. I discovered your blog through the Discovering Alpine Birds blog. Well done indeed - I will be a regular RSS-driven reader.

  14. Hi "Earlybirders", thanks for all your kind comments. Please excuse me if I leave anyone out.

    Kelly you could try this link for Song Thrush:
    and search for any other British species.

    Montanagirl & SpookyD. I'll soon be getting out before sun-up to listen to the real 'Dawn Chorus', an orchestral delight, but not sure how I'll describe it.

    Thanks Lisa. I hope you will be by my side in the future.

    Keith, must be the 'British' reserve. Stay well friend.

    Jayne, I'm pleased to say much improved.

    Roy, I even tried 'pishing' today & that didn't work either!

    Dale. Welcome & thank you.

    Warren. I see your mornings are improving with Cuckoo etc.

    Mick, I'm quite jealous of all those Waders on your doorstep.

    BABW. Thanks for the appreciation John & hope you enjoy future posts.

    Happy birding. FAB

  15. Listening to a Song Thrush really is great. I seem to get the same luck where Hawfinches are involved!

  16. What a wonderful moment in time you captured of the song thrush singing! I agree - no better way to start the day!!

  17. Matt, past encounters of Hawfinch have usually been when I least expected to see them. May it be so in the future.

    Shelly, such brief but majical encounters make any day worthwhile.

  18. Hi Frank,
    I hope your back will be ok soon. Well done for the song trush, not that easy to get, they are so scare..

  19. Perfect description, orchestral delight!

  20. Chris. Sorry for the delay in responding. The back is much better, thanks.

  21. Thanks SpookyD...One day I might learn how to add real sound to a post!


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