The Terninator

In case you didn’t all know, yesterday was International Dawn Chorus Day…  It’s an event designed to get people out of their beds at some ungodly hour of the morning and out into the natural world with the chief purpose of connecting with the wildlife that’s around them.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The dawn chorus consists of a lot of birds doing a lot of singing very early in the morning to herald the start of a brand new spring day.  I guess many of them have been practicing for weeks to make sure each of them sing the right notes at the right time in order to impress all those people gathered to witness the spectacle on the first Sunday in May each year.  Either that, or they just do exactly as they do most mornings and sing their little birdy hearts out, oblivious to the hordes of weary nature-lovers standing under a tree in the pitch blackness.

In my case, I set my alarm for 4.30am and when it went off, I cursed my previous night’s keenness to forgo a Sunday lie-in to immerse myself in the trilly-warbly-tweety splendour of crack-of-dawn-birdsong.

I opened the window and could already hear the warm-up act – a solitary Blackbird, sitting atop the tree in the garden, was belting out an improv version of ‘Morning has Broken‘ (obviously, not the Cat Stevens version, for logical avian vs. feline reasons).  Could I get away with participating in this year’s event from the comfort of my bed?  Would that be cheating? Would it undermine the spirit of International Dawn Chorus Day?

The answer to all three was probably ‘Yes‘… but I was awake, so felt compelled to drag myself out from under the sheets and get to Earlswood Lake.

Ten minutes later, I was standing at the edge of the lower lake in the sort of Sunday morning half-light non-partying Michael is no longer especially familiar with.  I used to be fun once upon a time – Honest!

Earlswood Lake.  Sunday. Really bloody early!

Earlswood Lake. Sunday. Really bloody early.

It was difficult to hear the birdsong because someone was moaning about how wet and cold their feet were from walking across the dewy golf course… Obviously, that person was me.  I used to not moan about everything once – Honest!

Earlswood Lake.

Earlswood Lake. Sunday.  Two minutes later than really bloody early.

Before I wasted the early start, I decided to get over myself, silence my whinging and listen… I could hear Blackbirds, Chiffchaffs, Robins and Wrens all trying to be heard over the top of each other, as the sun was trying to drag itself over the distant tree-line.  A brand new day was beginning with a cacophony of tweets and an increasingly stunning pinkening sky.

It was quite the aural and visual spectacle… One I was increasingly glad to be experiencing (as long as it was only to be a once a year occurrence, mind you).

If anyone’s interested, it’s National Doughnut Week next week – probably easier to get out of bed for that one!

Guess the birds in the silhouette...

Guess the birds in the silhouette…

The sole new bird species for the weekend was a lonely looking Common Tern at Warnham Nature Reserve .  He had positioned himself (or herself) next to the newly installed tern nesting raft and appeared to be waiting for a female (or male) to come and join him (or her) to pair up and start a family…  Maybe he (or she) could try in-tern-et dating to speed the process along.  I used to be funny once – Honest! (This is, of course, a blatant lie).

Revealed:  The real reason Peter Shiltern was never any good at saving penalties...

Revealed: The real reason Peter Shiltern was never any good at saving penalties…

One good tern (picture) deserves another...

One good tern (picture) deserves another…

Fauna Corner

Now that spring is in full swing (I’ve been to the dawn chorus to prove it), I sense that Fauna Corner is going to get quite busy with photographs of winged things.  I also predict that the pictures will have a lot of captions containing something along the lines of ‘um… er… I’m not sure what this is. Help!’, because I only know about four of the near two and a half thousand British moths, the commonest of our seventy(ish) butterflies and can name more members of The Beatles than I can name actual beetles.

I apologise in advance for this.

A wander along the Riverside Walk in Horsham and Denbies Hillside, just outside Dorking, revealed these six-legged (and one no-legged) wonders: –

Beautiful Demoiselle (Female)

Beautiful Demoiselle (Female)

Beautiful Demoiselle (Male)

Beautiful Demoiselle (Male)

Mint Moth

Mint Moth

Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreak

Grizzled Skipper

Grizzled Skipper

Common Blue

Common Blue

Dingy Skipper

Dingy Skipper

5-Spot Burnet

5-Spot Burnet

22-Spot Ladybird - Apologies for the state of my hands. If I'd have known I'd be modelling a ladybird, I would have moisturised (or, at least, washed)

22-Spot Ladybird – Apologies for the state of my hands. If I’d have known I’d be modelling a ladybird, I would have moisturised (or, at least, washed)

The rare no-bodied lizard...  Still wriggling after being dropped by a bird

The rare No-Bodied Lizard… Still wriggling after being dropped by a bird

I wasn’t sure if I should mention it here, but I discovered something incredibly exciting.  I imagine I can’t reveal where I saw it, but I saw what is possibly the Western Palearctic’s first recorded sighting of the phenomenally rare Rainbow Kite.  I stopped to have a sandwich (lettuce, ham and salad cream) – in a secret location – and happened to glance up at a nearby tree and saw it uncomfortably perched amongst the branches.  Sssshhhh, don’t tell anyone!

Rainbow Kite

Rainbow Kite


About mixaeljones

Hello! I try to undertake a yearly challenge and write about it in a semi-witty manner. I often use twenty words when three will do. I am also a big fan of terrible puns and taking unintentionally blurry photographs of wildlife. In 2013 I tried to eat a food I hadn't eaten before each week (I got to 28!), in 2014 I attempted to seek out as many species of bird as I could in the year (I got to 201!) and in 2015 I delved head first into the world of butterflies and tried to see as many different types as possible (44!)... I've also done some belly dancing, been Father Christmas and nearly played tennis against Bjorn Borg. If any of this seems like it might be of interest, feel free to check out my blogs... Comments encouraged! Have a nice day :)
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One Response to The Terninator

  1. Pingback: What’s Bee-Eating Gilbert Grape | Fifty-Two Weeks of Things With Beaks

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