I heard a blackcap singing quietly deep in a hedge on Sunday, a willow warbler yesterday and three chiffchaffs by the river today. They were all in places where I didn’t hear those species in spring. I’m guessing that they’re passing through on their way south…..
Twelve short videos of the same scene on the River Nene between Oundle and Cotterstock – the changing sights and sounds of the seasons in a three-minute year.
I would expect nightingales to finish singing locally around the end of the first week in June. This year there are still three singing regularly in the forest above Southwick. I recorded this nightingale last night at around 10.30pm, when the only other sounds were the lambs on the other side of the valley.
I heard these amazing sounds coming from my roof space. At first I thought that an old battery-powered toy fire engine had somehow started up on its own, but then realised it was two starlings sitting right on top of the hatch. I reached up with a handheld recorder to record the sounds of cars starting, alarms, fire-engines…..an extraordinary display of mimicry.
At 5pm I set out for a walk towards the river – it was mild and the evening light seemed suddenly to have come back. From a rooftop near Snipe Meadows there was a blackbird in full song! What a glorious sound….
The birds have fallen into a deep winter hush. Only a few fieldfares were clacking as I tramped through the snow towards Biggin Hall. The ruined barn where a barnowI buzzed me back in 2008 has been done up as a shooting lodge, and the owls will have to find a new place to roost in spring. It has a lovely view looking across to Glapthorn and Short Wood on the other side of the valley, and I was very taken by the door bell.
Yesterday I saw two robins fighting in the garden, dunnocks scrapping in the bottom of a hedgerow near Snipe meadow, and some very excitable greattits near the recreation ground. This morning at 9am a songthrush was singing in a nearby garden, as he has done for a week now. On a trip to North London in the afternoon I heard a few notes of a blackbird in full song – spring seems to be coming very early….
The first gales in a long time came roaring from the south. Geese flew in a great circle over Snipe meadow, and a single lapwing called as it rose against the wind. A songthrush took off from a tree near the boathouse and wheeled round and round the flooded meadow as if glorying in its own energy and strength.
A few weeks ago I was surprised to see two muntjac deer at the edge of Snipe Meadow and managed to get a photo of one before they both melted into the hedgerow. At 6pm today I was passing Glapthorn Cow Pasture and popped in for a few moments to listen for tawny owls. A muntjacdeer started barking as soon as I opened the gate. Hard to reconcile the sound with its small size and timidity, especially on your own in the dark!
A lovely hazy Sunday, the noon sun just beginning to warm through the morning frost. At the edge of Southwick forest a songthrush suddenly broke into full song. There was too much background noise to make recordings so I took some photos instead. The red kite’s forked tail was picked out by the sunlight as he watched me walk back down the hill.
I sent some of of my birdsong CDs to a customer in Hong Kong. He emailed back with a lovely recording he’d made of an Asian magpie robin called Ludwig, duetting with a nightingale from one of the CDs. Ludwig & Nightingale Duet
Walking above Southwick I came across half a dozen goldcrests (a “charm” of goldcrests?) twittering away in a thicket. They were hard to spot but not at all shy when it came to singing.