Heading south

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…..

Nightingales in late June

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.

First nightingale

He can’t be seen in the video as he’s well hidden, but this is the sound of the first nightingale I’ve heard this spring.
He’s just arrived at this nesting site in a thicket after migrating all the way from West Africa to Glapthorn Cow Pasture in Northamptonshire UK.
Every year the the nightingales arrive around the 18th of April, even though this year spring is about a month late.
I seem to have heard a new and different African arrival for the first time on each successive day during the last week, though no cuckoo yet. What an extraordinary spring!

Amazing starling sounds

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.

First Blackbird

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….

Snow on snow

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 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.

Early spring signs

A mild and foggy morning by the river, with lots of birdsong for the time of year. 

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….