Sunday, 2 May 2010

Dawn Chorus at Hatchlands Park.

At 5 a.m. a group of twelve stood expectantly in the car park at Hatchlands Park awaiting the arrival of a 5.30 dawn under an overcast sky. Even at this early hour the Blackbird and Robin had already started to announce their presence, very shortly followed by the 'ooo OOO, oo, ooo' of a Woodpigeon and in the distance the very intermitent 'hoooouh' of a Tawny Owl. As the sun arose, but hidden by grey clouds, we commenced our walk and the chorus was soon joined by more Blackbirds, the loud explosive Wrens, Great Tits, the first of many Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff and the repeated 'that's me..that's me..that's me' phrases of the Song Thrush interpersed with the usual squeaks etc.
Song Thrush (Shot last week on a sunny day!)

As we headed over the open parkland a distant Fox stopped then sat down and stared at this group of interlopers from its postion for several minutes before continuing its early morning stroll. The next sounds were the 'tui..tui..tui' call of a Nuthatch and the sharp 'kick..kick' of a Great Spotted Woodpecker who then commenced a short burst of drumming followed by the hoarse call of a cock Pheasant. A pair of Mallard flew over heading for Rookery Pond as the Dexter cattle headed up the slope towards us.
Entering one of the small woods our nostrils were filled with the gorgeous scent of Bluebells totally carpeting the floor around our feet as a well hidden Garden Warbler perched somewhere in the leafy canopy broke into its rapid rippling song. There was little activity at the bird feeders apart from a single Great Tit and a far off Cuckoo calling constantly as we watched a family of Grey Squirrels emerging from their overnight home.

While checking out the sheep in the pasture a Chaffinch was added to the list plus the ever present corvids; Carrion Crows, Rooks, Jackdaw and Magpie. On the homeward leg we heard squawking Parakeets, watched several Long-tailed Tits and a pair of Coal Tits close to their nest hole in one of the many Acacia trees. Just as I mentioned that we hadn't seen or heard a Whitethroat an individual promptly announced its presence with its fast scratchy verse but out of view on the other side of a hedge.
With 27 species logged (a few expected species not seen!) our morning stroll ended with very welcome cup of coffee plus a bacon butty and the forecasted rain had not yet appeared so we counted ourselves very lucky. It is likely that this walk will be repeated next year when hopefully advanced publication of the event will result in a higher attendance. My thanks to Dan and Sue at Hatchlands for organising this walk and inviting me to assist with this trial run.    FAB.

15 comments:

  1. It seems you had a very interesting morning!! Great list of sighting and calls!! I am envious of all the people posting the beautiful bluebells....we do not have them here in Maine!! The sheep are so cute...I have a great fondness for them. We used to raise sheep and now my daughter does..she shears ..cards..spins.. dyes some..and knits with her wool!! Have a great day!!

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  2. Song thrush...beautiful bird and again one of my favourites. I am fortunate to have them in my garden.
    The photograph of the squirrels is such fun....

    A lovely post....entertaining and informative. I do love to know about the birds etc that live in parks, gardens and countryside.

    You were indeed fortunate not to have any rain. What started as light refreshing showers this morning, is now torrential continuous rain.

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  3. Frank, I really do have to get out more and this post just brought it home to me. Loved reading this and my favorite shot of course, the sheep. Carol

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  4. A lovely visit Frank and a beautifully written post. I felt like I was there with you! I do love to hear the Song Thrush, it has a lovely but quite comical song I think. I love the photo of the Squirrels too :)

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  5. Good on you for getting out early and showing people the magic of bird song.

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  6. Sounds like a great morning to me Frank, and 27 species is pretty good in my book. You certainly beat us hands down on great woodland walks in your neck of the woods. A very nice post.

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  7. Excellent narrative as always Frank.

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  8. Sounds like a successful morning Frank. The dawn chorus is a great time of day. Lovely shot of the Song Thrush in voice.

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  9. Great post Frank, I love dawn chorus walks!!

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  10. Sounds like it was a success, Frank. Glad the rain held off for you.

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  11. Very cool! My favorite time of day and a fabulous time for viewing wildlife :)

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  12. Hi "Early Birders". As always I thank you for stopping by and leaving your kind comments.

    This is a super time of year for experiencing the joy of listening to the dawn chorus wherever you are. It may require an early start but it's worth the effort. I'll probably do it again very soon. FAB.

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  13. What a wonderful outing you must have had. Those lambs are the best, for I enjoy them very much. Your Thrush images, they are so clear, it is almost like if I strain long enough, I shall hear their lovely song...delightful Frank~

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  14. It seems to have been an interesting morning. My favourites are the little Sqirrels! Greetings from Luzia.

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  15. Mary. Interestingly the Shepherdess came on the walk with us. Keep repeating the words in the post and the Song Thrush will be with you!

    Luzia. Greetings to you. The Squirrels were delightful as they each popped their heads in and out of the hole before deciding to venture out.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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