A dozen folk set their alarms early and met at the car park at Bromhey Farm for a 6am start. Although not strictly dawn, it was early enough and there was plenty to test our listening skills. The day started cool but calm and gradually warmed up as the sun came out.
Within a few metres from the car park we were listening to two male nightingales, one giving a very fine vocal performance, although offering only scant and fleeting views.
Whitethroat, blackcap, wren, greenfinch, green woodpecker, woodpigeon and a distant cuckoo were soon added to the list.
From the viewing mound, looking out across the marshes, there were 6 avocet, displaying lapwings, black-tailed godwits, shelduck, gadwall & tufted duck. From here we walked into the Northward Hill reserve. Soon we had sedge warbler, garden warbler, robin, chiffchaff, long-tailed, great and blue tits added to our listening list. From the upper ride we had fine views over the marsh and watched the herons coming and going to their tree-top nests; this year it is reported that there are 150 pairs nesting in the wood.
Further up in a small sunny glade we came across a grizzled skipper, scorpion fly and long-horned moth, which were obliging enough to have their photographs taken:
Near to this point Paul captured a short recording of the sounds in the woodland:
Recorded around 7:30am on 19 May 2012 in Northward Hill RSPB reserve.
Featuring, in order of appearance: nightingale, woodpigeon, robin, green woodpecker, wren & blackbird. Can you hear any others? (to listen again click the little cross in the top right hand corner then click the large blue play button).
On the return leg we listened and watched the rooks and jackdaws in their large rookery- with a couple of nightingales trying to compete for attention. Over head there were swifts, occasionally screeching. For the record, I reckon that we heard 6 or 7 nightingales singing, many in the ‘newly’ planted areas.
Again, noticeble by its absence was willow warbler and, on this trip, we did not hear turtle dove, although a small number have been reported this year.
Report by Paul Yetman.