Our first field outing of the 2023 season in late April was “Dave’s Dawn chorus”, starting at Saltford Shallows with a 4.30 am start, and led by chairman Dave Sage as usual. 12 of us enjoyed a magical morning, starting on the cycle track River Avon bridge near the Bird-in-Hand, listening with eyes closed as the robins and blackbirds started to sing. Very mindful, as some people noted!
Before long the rest of the choir were awake and singing loudly, notably the song thrush, never singing the same phrase twice in succession, the very noisy wren, like an old car trying to start, and the onomatopoeic 2-note calls of the chiffchaff and great tit, the latter louder, and more clear-edged - “tee-cher, tee-cher”.
By the time we returned to the start at 8 am (having walked half way to Bitton and back) we had seen and heard 33 species, 4 better than last year, including a brief flash of a kingfisher, a drumming great spotted woodpecker, and migrant warblers nearby. These included willow warbler, garden warbler and blackcap, the latter 2 singing in adjacent scrub, clearly in view, their very similar songs distinguishable at such close range.
Above Song Thrush and Blackcap
Right: Garden Warbler
Everyone had a very enjoyable morning and hopefully learned a few more bird songs! Many thanks to Andrew Harrison for some of the photos, taken in what was very difficult light!