On International Dawn Chorus Day I flung open the windows about 4:30am and enjoyed listening to more birds than cars… living on a main A-road this was quite a pleasant variation on the normal efforts required to enjoy the gradual transitions of species as the sky lightens.

First up was the robin, soon followed by blackbird, with distant percussion from pheasant and a general background of woodpigeon. As it got lighter a few more joined in, with wren, a distant song thrush (we have sometimes had them nesting in our garden, but this year they are absent, with a pair in the properties a little further down on the opposite side of the road) and very distant tawny owl going to bed at 5am – I had to get up and put my head out of the window to be sure it wasn’t something else – I reckon about three quarters of a mile away, in or near Telegraph Field) at Lark Rise Farm.

Not so melodic but nonetheless part of the rural setting were passing caws, chacks and crows from Rooks, Jackdaws and, um Crows.

As it started to get properly light, blue tit (who have got six chicks in the nest box next to our front door), house sparrow, red-legged partridge, fly-by Canada geese, goldfinch, chaffinch and dunnock all joined in, and a stock dove was the last of the chorus before it started to get too cold to carry on with the draft! 

On shutting the back windows at 5:45am I could hear a blackcap finally giving one of the better performances of the morning, though I think my favourite today was the blackbird which used the wire right outside our window and filled the house with song.

Whilst still early-dawn, I wrapped up warm and ventured down to the farm. 

Dr Vince Lea
Head of Wildlife Monitoring 

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