Isle of Wight Walking Festival Dawn Chorus Walk

What do you do 6 days after International Dawn Chorus Day?

Well it seems you set your alarm for before dawn and head to a designated meeting point at 4.30am where a dozen or so other shadowy figures were loitering.  The purpose of this meet – A Dawn Chorus Walk led by Ian Boyd, bird song expert and part of the Bay Coastal Community Team,

As we started our walk, dawn was still asleep, but it wasn't long before the first birds started to sing.  Well before it became light, blackbirds, robins, thrushes and wrens began their melodies like a well rehearsed concerto which crescendoed as the light increased.

From the cacophony of bird song, Ian skilfully identified numerous species adding feathered fancies like black caps, cetti's warblers and tree creepers to our tick list.  Our ultimate prize was to be able to hear a nightingale.  We walked for about 1.5 miles to some coppiced woodland and dense bushes - an ideal habitat for the secretive nightingale, Ian told us. 
As we stood there concentrating on the notes, staring into the bushes with our mouths slightly open to sharpen our hearing, the conglomeration of mixed melodies, a bit like an orchestra tuning up, began to separate in my mind and  gradually individual bird songs  filtered through.  And then we heard it, the beautiful and varied song of the nightingale sang for us just as we neared Black Rock Bridge at Adgestone.

Dawn Chorus Walk @6am

I was glad we'd made the effort to be out before the crack of dawn.  The dawn chorus only lasts for a few hours before the birds stop singing and start foraging for food.  Our walk finished at 6.30am and we still had the whole day ahead of us but what a memorable start to the day.

If you are interested in attending the Dawn Chorus walk this year, you will need to get up very early on Saturday 13th May.  As part of the Isle of Wight Walking festival, Ian and other volunteers are leading several walks between 29th April and 14th May, details of which can be found on the walking festival website. 

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