Dawn chorus walk

Mercifully, the weather didn’t turn out to be as bad as the forecast suggested when we gathered at 5.30am for a (slightly late(ish)) dawn chorus walk on International Dawn Chorus Day. It was still a bit drizzly, but that soon eased off and we ended up having a fascinating walk along the Forest Way led by Tom Forward.

Picture of group of people

Listening to the dawn chorus

The first sighting turned out to be a Common Swift (Apus apus), flying high above the trees on Foresters Green, and then we headed around the back of the timber yard where, just as last year, heard the distinctive calls of the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) and Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita).

Once we hit the Forest Way itself, Tom pointed out the call of a Whitethroat (Sylvia communis) and we started to discern the wide variability in the call of the Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos).

  • Recording 1: A snippet of Blue Tit, followed by ‘repeats’ of Song Thrush and then Chiffchaff, finishing off with a bit more Blue Tit
  • Recording 2: ‘weoow weeow weow’ of Song Thrush song with fast ‘tat tat tat tat’ of Blackcap alarm call in the background
  • Recording 3: High liquid trickling bubbling of Robin, with the fluting flourish of a Blackcap right at the end

We all knew the call of the Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus), of course, which we could compare with the Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), but were less familiar with that of the Goldcrest (Regulus regulus). Arriving at the bridge over the Medway we disturbed a pair of Mandarin (Aix galericulata) before a Great-spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) announced its presence and we managed to get a look at it as well.

Steadily heading along the path, there were often Wrens (Troglodytes troglodytes) and Dunnocks (Prunella modularis) to hear, with their distinctive calls, as well as a Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula).

  • Recording 4: A mix of everything, incl Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Blackcap, distant Whitethroat and Song Thrush
  • Recording 5: Wren
  • Recording 6: Blackbird and then Blue Tit

On the way back we heard a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) right beside us allowing us to pick out the call more clearly. Then, back home for breakfast with the calls of 21 species in my head. I still need more practice….

Huge thanks to Tom for leading the walk and for checking the recordings.

Download the complete list of species seen or heard on 3 May 2015.


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