Thursday 31 October 2013

The Dawn Chorus

I had been having a hard time sleeping last night, and figured a little fresh air would do me good.

It was 4am, and there was a thick haze in the sky negating any chance of doing any early morning astronomy. But there was still plenty going on to keep my senses occupied, although initially I couldn’t see any of it.

It started with me hearing a few high pitched “seeeeep seeeep” noises coming from above somewhere. At first I thought it was the sound of my own slightly cold-ridden nasal breathing, but a little self suffocation soon proved that wrong. It then occurred to me that it was possibly the sound of a redwing, those most attractive of winter thrushes.

This was just the beginning. Despite dawn still being the best part of three hours away, it seemed I had walked out into Halloween morning’s Dawn Chorus.

I wandered down to the road, drawn by the sound of some aggressive chirruping. And there on the actual main road, what must have been a pair of robins were fighting over the tarmac. The one who lived on the far side of the rode was clearly winning; he drove his opponent back onto the pavement with a series of aggressive flapping drives, and then mounted the pavement in triumph as the defeated bird submitted and flew off, leaving the victor to start feeding at the base of a tree.

Not far away a blackbird was rooting around in fallen leaves in the gutter of the road, and others were beginning to stir and call, but not sing, in the trees in the small park opposite. The singing was being left to the robins. Above me a bird settled in a tree, it was an eerily streetlamp illuminated great tit, its face and chest looking orange in the glow.

As my eyes began to grow heavy, woodpigeons and collared doves started to crash about in the foliage. And as I headed back inside to successfully go to sleep, I reflected on what pleasure being outside at this crazy, early hour had brought me.

Copyright Cream Crackered Nature 31/10/2013

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