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The song of new arrivals

March 23, 2014

 Until today the chorus has been delivered by the Blackbirds, Robins and Wrens. All of whom have hung about all Winter and have been defending their individual territories in song since February.  But this morning a Summer visitor arrived and added to the soundscape. Admittedly not a great song, its monotonous Chiff-Chaff call does not conjure up the rapturous enjoyment that results from hearing a Nightingale, but it is an early Spring song with a flavour of Summer mixed in. Each year their arrival seems to coincide with the emergence of the first fresh green Hawthorn leaves, the Wild Daffodils and Primroses. The Chiff Chaff is a greenish, relatively nondescript member of the Warbler family. Now we wait for the related Warblers, the Blackcaps and Garden Warblers, both of which are more melodious songsters but not so early to arrive.

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A cacophony at dawn

April 21, 2013

Five o’clock in the morning – the dawn chorus at this time of the year arrives in a rush. At first a single Blackbird sings in a recognisable but subdued manner. Thirty seconds later Song Thrushes, Wrens, more Blackbirds and assorted others joined in a joyous cacophony. In truth the small delay was hardly noticeable. As if a switch is thrown and the  need to shout at full volume is paramount. After a few minutes order returns, bird song settles and a lone Song thrush repeats its favoured phrases, each three to four times within a song of many verses.

Dawn on a Sunday in mid-February arrived in a grey pall. A frost has etched its way through the garden and the air was still. But the sound of birdsong has gathered new strength; the Sing Thrush which has claimed an Ash tree to the west of the cottage was trading vocal blows with his rival neighbour at the Old Smithy. This dual in sound followed strict rules. An opening five phrase repeat from one bird was followed by a pause and a response from the other. Their notes filled with the vigour and meaning as the serious business of territorial claims were reinforced. In the background Robins and Wrens added their own vocals. On the ground Snowdrops continue to flower and the early Daffodils venture forth with the yellow herald’s trumpet.