Talking about bird song…I need to learn to love the dawn chorus again!

Whilst winter isn’t over just yet, and it’s still dark when I leave home in the morning to travel to work, spring can’t be far away as over the past week I’ve heard birds singing the dawn chorus for the first time this year. When I say birds, I really mean one species, as it has only been song thrushes so far that I have heard in these early hours, just before 6:00am.

Over course of the spring last year, I had quite a long period of poor sleep, getting less than a handful of hours a night.  Most mornings I knew it was pointless trying to get to sleep when the thrush on my roof started singing.  The song of the bird, a constantly changing pattern of two or three-times repeated calls and notes, really started to annoy me. It is actually one of the nicest songs of dawn but it can be quite sharp and piercing, and not only made me even wider awake, the pattern of the call disturbed by thoughts too.

Usually, the first calls of the dawn chorus, as winter moves into spring, would be very welcome, but when I first heard that song this week, it took me right back to those sleepless nights last year.  It’s strange how sounds (and other senses) can instantly transport the mind back to previous times.  I’ll need to shake that association from my head as the down chorus should be something wonderful not something bad. So, I’m going to force myself to get up early one weekend morning and head out into the countryside, to sit under the canopy of a wood and listen as the dawn chorus unfolds around me – that should do the trick!

Standing up for bird song…

Nearly a year ago I wrote a post about how road noise is making it more difficult to hear nature’s sounds and that instead of complaining about traffic, we should be more positive and stand up for bird song (link to post).

Well, today there was an article in The Guardian reporting on research from the US showing that we are slowly becoming deaf to nature’s sounds and that there are positive effects on people from being able to hear the natural world around them.

So I can have good ideas when walking home from the pub!

Lacking inspiration…

Maybe it’s the winter blues or the need for a bit of a change but I’ve been finding it hard to motivate myself recently when it comes to my usual interests.  However, over last weekend I did push myself out of the house to do a Winter Bird Survey at Cheshire Wildlife Trust’s Blakenhall Moss reserve and had a walk around Wybunbury Moss.

Blakenhall Moss

The survey was almost as atmospheric as the December visit to Blakenhall but the lack of sun, made the view much more dull.  The fogginess and general murk certainly made the place feel like it was at its lowest ebb of the seasons.  However, I saw one of the first signs of spring with the bluebell shoots starting to emerge from under the leaf litter; maybe a little early this year.  I was also cheered up by recording a couple of marsh tits during the survey; these are an important species for the site, are a nationally red-listed species in serious decline and are not well-recorded in Cheshire.

Bluebell shoots

Out at Wybunbury Moss, I took advantage of the new section of footpath recently designated and opened close to the church tower and behind the Swan Inn pub.  This new path enables a complete circular walk around the Moss without having to use the footway alongside the road through the village, which altogether provides a nice, quiet wander of around 45 minutes.


Unlike at Blakenhall, I didn’t see any signs of spring at Wybunbury and even the birds seemed subdued.

Unlike me, it appears others have had more motivation than me recently, as I found the results of the work put in by my volunteering colleagues the previous weekend.  They (Crewe & Nantwich Conservation Volunteers) had spent the day clearing an area of small ponds and undergrowth within the woodland surrounding the Moss and had also laid more log pathway to make it easier to walk along the permissive path through the site.

With the first signs of spring starting to appear, I’m hoping the first ‘greenshoots’ of motivation and inspiration will also start to grow – I certainly need something to give me a bit of a kickstart to the year!