Sunday, 3 May 2009

International Dawn Chorus Day

Sixteen people gathered at the RSPB Visitor Centre in Wat Tyler Country Park at 5 am. With the dawn chorus just getting in to full swing a cuckoo was one of the first birds heard and two more were heard during the two hour walk, one of which showed well in flight. Blue and great tits along with robin were heard around the bird feeding area. A whitethroat, it's scratchy song was soon heard as we crossed the road to Holly Cottage, whitethroats were evident throughout the walk with one performing exceptionally well on the perimeter trail often song flighting above our heads. Reed warblers were singing from the reedbeds, even the smallest areas of reed held at least one. A cetti's warbler burst in to song but remained elusive as is often the case with this species. As we continued blackbirds and wrens were in full voice, and then we picked up the gentle 'purring' of a turtle dove, the first recorded in the park this year, the bird was sat on a pylon and every one enjoyed views through a telescope. On to the marina and a pair of oystercatchers made a noisy fly-past while two little egrets fed in the creek. Our first nightingale could be heard singing across the creek on the western end of the former county tip. Further along the trail a second nightingale sang in dense vegetation beside the track, and frustratingly stayed hidden, we stayed and listened to his full repertoire for a while and this was a highlight and new experience for many. Song thrush and blackcap were enjoyed as the walk came to an end, it really is worth getting up early at this time of the year, with no background noise to compete with the dawn chorus is a real experience.