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!
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!
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!
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).
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.
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!