Trip reports

Nightingale Walk at RSPB Northward Hill

Nightingale Walk at RSPB Northward Hill
Cuckoo [John Bridges]

Thursday, 19 April 2018

So, this evening was the first of several walks to illustrate the iconic and uniqueness of this much-loved songster throughout and up to the end of May, the main singing period for the males as they establish their territories.

I set the dates early in mid-winter not anticipating the weather from the East earlier on in April, which had a knock-on effect on early arrival migrants.

Wednesday mid-afternoon I was asked by Adrian Thomas the National RSPB Coordinator for nightingales to find some nightingales around the Lodge Hill Complex as Channel 4 News wanted to do a live broadcast concerning this bird and Medway Council's plan to build thousands of homes on the SSSI protected site in Chattenden.

By the time the crew arrived at Strood Station we had found at least one/two singing males just into the ex-army camp off the Willow Tree roundabout.

So back to Thursday's walk. There were twenty-one of us all told setting off about 7.15pm up to Sweeney Viewpoint which gave me an opportunity to talk about Linda and Owen Sweeney and their dedication to wildlife though the RSPB, BTO and KOS.

Down to the dip to our first nightingale hotspot, Lipwell, where we listened to two males limbering up. Across the bridge and past the orchard we started to ascend Northward Hill. On the way up, males were throwing out random splashes of song.

At the top by the old panoramic signage two males were again singing out hints of the iconic notes, so we had to be content with a dress rehearsal.

As compensation a male cuckoo gave us a fine view of himself and his long-awaited song. A keen eye spotted the unmistakably dumpy shape of a little owl perched atop a tall reed, an uncharacteristically precarious perch for such a bird.

So maybe not quite the full songs we'd hoped for, but never-the-less some singing and good views etc of the cuckoo and the owl.

I would like to thank Ruth of the RSPB and Des and Carol Felix and Daniel their Grandson and Warren Mann all from the Medway RSPB Local Group for their assistance.

Taken from RSPB Northward Hill Blog
By Dr Hoo