Despite their reputation as 'skulkers' the nightingales have been performing beautifully, and have been far easier to spot than the sun so far this month! So you can imagine how pleased I was to see that the forecast for this weekend should include this elusive creature, ready for our 'not quite dawn' chorus.
Whilst our wardens, Pete, Paul and David, were all up before dawn for our more traditional dawn chorus walks (thank you gentlemen) I went for the slightly more civilised option of an 8 am start - after all the bird song is still wonderful throughout the morning. Our nightingales are in competition with the song thrushes and blackbirds for the solo spot but there are birds singing all along the trail at the moment - garden warblers, common whitethroats, lesser whitethroats and chiffchaffs. Perhaps my favourites are the blackcap - sometimes known as 'king of the warblers' whose cheerful, bouncy song can be heard along all the hedgerows and wooded areas - and the wren, who shouts at you, full of attitude and perched up with his tail cocked!
If you look rather than listen there are hundreds of swallows, martins and swifts hunting over the wetlands and they look spectacular as they swoop low over the water and somehow manage to avoid collision despite being present in such great numbers. You might even catch a glimpse of a hobby amongst them, following hot on their heels - not so many dragonflies around for the hobbies to hunt yet.
So if you want to hear some fabulous bird song, without having to get up before 4 in the morning, join me over the next 3 days (Fri, Sat and Sun) as we open the centre early (8 am) and our friendly volunteers will be stationed around the trail ready to introduce you to some of our splendid songsters. The cafe will be open from 8.30 am if you fancy a cuppa or a bacon buttie to accompany the concert!