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!