Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Singing the blues

Not me……I’m cock a hoop. Was distraught though at 8.45 when I saw there was a Nightingale at Bolam and I had an appointment that I’d been trying to complete for over a month at 9.30. Said appointment turned up at 9.50 so it was 10.30 before I headed north.
Checked Banks Pond out on the way with Emperor, Four Spotted Chaser, Common Bluet and my first Blue butterfly of the year. More blue at Bellasis with banded Demoiselles below the bridge but couldn’t see the green female that was there yesterday.
Arrived at the gate to Howlett Hall as AG, MSH and lady were leaving. They gave me directions saying the bird was still singing and off I set. Down the lane through the railway cutting, turn left past the bales and follow the lane 200yards to the flowering Elder where I stopped and waited. A Buzzard called high overhead and Whitethroat launched a song flight to my right. A red tail grabbed my attention as a Redstart disappeared into the undergrowth then……three faint woo, woo, woo calls followed by jugg, jugg, jugg, chat chat chat a pause then repeated with volume and variation. My first Nightingale.
I listened for fifteen - twenty minutes not moving closer but scanning the bushes from whence the song emanated. The variation in song was amazing yet controlled sometimes recalling Song Thrush then Blackcap but interspersed with many other notes and fluting calls.
RD who I had met earlier at Banks Pond joined me and we slowly proceeded up the lane to where the bird was singing. So hard to predict the exact spot just twenty feet away but sometimes high in the bush then next moment low, soft then loud but no sight of the bird. Every movement attracts our eye but Willow Warbler and Whitethroat just confuse the situation as a Blackbird joined in the chorus from the other side of the lane. At least it wasn’t as bad as the Marsh Warbler at St Marys’ as the Nightingales song continued unabated. We moved round the bush convinced the bird was on the other side of the outstretched branch but no sign until a brief movement as the bird doubled back on us. We retraced our steps toward the singing and a bird flew across the lane only to show itself as a Willow Warbler. Another bird crossed and the familiar singing started at the new location…had I seen a Nightingale? We moved closer and the bird moved round us again then stopped singing for a while. As we followed another bird back across the lane the singing started again right next to us and the briefest glimpse of a bird on a branch but it moved before bins could be raised. Then breaking cover the bird flew back across the lane to it’s favourite bush in clear view and the singing started again. We had both seen a Nightingale and we left satisfied.
I’m still undecided if it’s the best bird song I’ve heard but I’d love to hear more.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Peter! I dipped this afternoon but am reassured that I had been looking/listening in the correct spot!