Dawn Chorus Walk

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Last Saturday saw seven hardy soles and myself get up very early for our first ever Dawn Chorus Walk we have held.  In quite a strong wind and a little bit chilly we headed off down the Lighthouse Road towards Bull Point and down Kinever Valley, a lovely  secluded wooded valley with wall to wall Primroses, Bluebells and Wild Garlic.  The birds were quite hard to hear and see in the woods given the wind but we did manage to hear Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Robin and Wren. 

Things got a bit better when we headed out into more open ground towards Bennet’s Mouth.  The first bird we heard was a Grasshopper warbler.  My bird book descirbibes the call as “a monotonous insect-like reeling at high frequency”. Basically just like a Grasshopper.  Great to hear but impossible to see!  Up on to Coastpath with hundreds of Swallows moving through on migration with a handfull of House Martin and 2 Swifts.  I had hoped to show the group a Dartford Warbler in a patch of gorse I think they are nesting in, but to no avail. A nice consolation was a Whinchat, a migratory species very similar to a Stonchat.  A few seconds later a Peregrine came shooting past with a speculative stoop at a Jackdaw, then  it had a go at a Sparrowhawk and a few dives at the passing Swallows, all without success.

Wheatear seemed to be everywhere and because of the strong wind they were reluctant to fly, we got to within a few metres of one who instead of flying would walk away from us if we got too close!  The sun finally came out at about 7.30 and on the walk back to the carpark we had great views of singing Whitethroats.

All in all a very enjoyable walk, a little breezy, but great to be up so early.  Photos unfortunatley not taken on the morning but thanks to northeast wildlife.  Copyright of www.northeastwildlife.co.uk

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