Friday, 18 May 2012

Dawn chorus walk ...

Last sunday I managed to drag Carol out of bed at 4:15am, YES.. 4:15am, on a SUNDAY!!
I had mentioned to her that I would like to get up even earlier than normal, (Im a postman!) and go for a dawn chorus walk. She reluctantly agreed, but I knew she would like it when we were outdoors. The prospect of leaving her bed at such an unearthly hour, at the weekend too, was a rare occurance indeed!!
Although it was early may, it was cold, very cold in fact. As we started on our walk on the Alverstone old railway footpath at around 5:15 the frost was quite sharp, but the sunrise was magical.
The highland cattle were beautifully back-lit by the first rays of the sun....
We soon heard a cuckoo in the distance, but alas didnt get a view of one in the flesh, does anyone ever see them? The sound of the dawn chorus was magical, with no dog walkers, cyclists, or noisy kids to disturb the peace. We are still getting used to the different calls, but can make out the more common birds without much problem. Chiffchaffs were vocal but out of sight, and the green woodpeckers seemed to be laughing at us most of the walk!!
A young chaffinch looked a bit dozy with a twig in his beak...
My daily tick list was growing by the minute. Song thrushes were very common, as were whitethroats. Maybe house sparrows will be rare one day, the numbers are certainly in decline, hence their red status....
A beautiful dunnock happily posed about 10 feet away, thank you very much!!
He did look a bit dozy though!!
Eventually he saw me and woke up a bit....
After a couple of hours walking and trying to warm up, we decided to go to the hide for a warm up. Carol had sensibly packed a flask of tea and biscuits. Unfortunately the code on the hide had been changed so we couldnt get in for a sit-down :(  We hung around for a while to observe a jay, red squirrels and a tree creeper....

The light was really bad, and tested my nikon to the max!!
Back to the cycle track we ambled back savouring the calm. As we neared the sandown end, the walk the wight charity walk was just beginning, and the sun was warming up nicely.
We had spotted 27 species, with another 3 heard...
Not something we will do again in a hurry, it took us quite a few days for our internal clocks to get back to normal.... Try it yourself, well recommended!!


  1. Thanks very much Andrew very kind :)

  2. Dave, You really caught the magic of that time of day.
    The highland cattle there always surprise me - impressive animals.

  3. One day I'll do this! Lovely post.

  4. Cheers Rob and Omi, You should both try this, maybe on a warm summer morning, if we get one this year!!!

  5. Hi Dave

    I recently came across your blog and it looks great. I also live on the IoW, near Sandown, and go to the hide at Alverstone quite often. It's the best place on the island to see the Red Squirrels, simply because they are so tame.
    I ought to get myself out of bed early, especially at this time of year, but am just not a morning person...!


  6. Hi Fay,
    Yes you definately need to get up earlier, maybe go to bed a bit earlier then you will feel more awake in the morning!! Lol...

  7. LOL, yeah you are right!

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