Trip reports

Dawn Chorus Walk 09 May 2021

Dawn Chorus Walk 09 May 2021
Nightingale photographed at RSPB Pulborough Brooks some years ago. (Peter Hambrook)

Friday, 28 May 2021

When I moved to England over two decades ago, I did not know many birds nor haD discovered birdwatching. I expected to hear nightingales and larks announce each new dawn in Shakespeare's home, unlike the more familiar roosters of my home in south India. Needless to say, I was disappointed but promptly reminded myself that Romeo and Juliet were in Italy when they argued over whether it was a lark or nightingale they heard to tell them if it was night or day.

Over the years I have become familiar with many British birds, largely from walks with the NW Surrey RSPB group. I have heard and seen nightingales, skylarks, woodlarks and even a shore lark. However, there are undiscovered magical moments hidden in the familiar from time to time, and this dawn chorus walk was one. It was my first time listening to the unadulterated song of three nightingales before they were joined by the robin, song thrush, blackcap, great tit and blue tit. Stock doves, wood pigeons and a carrion crow turned the chorus into a cacophony while a lone common whitethroat rasped nearby.

"Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:óDo I wake or sleep?"
Keats (Ode to the Nightingale)

Shalini Andrews