by BathNats President David Goode
Tawny owls were calling when I opened the window at 5.45 this morning. It was dark but the dawn chorus had already started. Blackbirds and robins were the first songsters, soon joined by song thrushes and the strident voice of a wren. Equally loud, though more remote, came the sound of gulls calling from the rooftops of Bath way down below. Just before 6 o’clock woodpigeons struck up with their rather monotonous cooing. Gradually the sky lightened and with it the chorus of birds grew in volume. Over the next fifteen minutes, robins, blackbirds and song thrushes were singing most strongly, joined successively by coal tit, great tit, dunnock and the fluty notes of a nuthatch. By 6.15 the cacophony was at its height, with blackbirds, robins, woodpigeons and coal tits all dominating. There was the harsh rattle of a magpie, and the persistent two-note call of a chiffchaff in the tree tops. The first blue tit started singing just before 6.30, along with the twittering song of a goldfinch.
A crow entered the arena at 6.30 with a sonorous honk, after which a blackcap joined the throng with its beautiful fluty phrases. For the next fifteen minutes the chorus consisted of about ten different species, with woodpigeons doing their best to dominate. By 6.45 it was much quieter. All the same species could be heard, but many individual birds had stopped singing. Now and then a wren burst into song with characteristic gusto. But these were the exception. By 6.55 there was only a distant blackbird, together with wren, crow, dunnock and woodpigeon, and most obvious a continuous twittering of goldfinches.
I closed the window at 7 o’clock to the sound of goldfinches and dunnocks in the garden, a noisy party of jackdaws clustered around the fat-balls, and the harsh rasp of a heron purposefully heading for the river from its nest up the valley.
It was an excellent way to start the day, so I thought I would share it.
Stop press: The next morning I heard a willow warbler singing in our garden. It was the first of the year for me. Always a great delight to hear the first one.