Dawn Chorus Day

North Cliffe Wood, near Market Weighton is a mix of birch, oak, hazel and about 20 other tree species, together with an area of heathland. It was clear felled in the 1920’s, so none of it is ancient, but it does support a wide range of plant life, lots of insects (including the most ferocious mosquitoes), lots of birds, some reptiles and a few mammals too. During the summer we cut back areas of bracken and in the autumn we control the brambles, but large areas of the woodland remain untouched and have a very wild feel to them.

At this time of year the woodland is looking at its best, with great carpets of bluebells and other wild flowers which are quite spectacular. The dawn chorus here is equally spectacular, with a host of migrant warblers competing for attention with our resident woodland birds. Owls, woodpeckers and pheasants complete the ensemble.

I’ve made two early morning trips this week, arriving at 5am. Tuesday was misty and calm and great for filming, while Thursday was damp and breezy. On Tuesday a great spotted woodpecker was hammering and I heard a fox calling. I saw two roe deer coming towards me, but they veered off and disappeared through the woods when they saw me. On Thursday a green woodpecker was making its curious yaffling call, but there was no sign of the great spotted.

Yesterday, I recorded the dawn chorus in the village, at 4:30 and again at 5. It surprised me just how different the recordings are. By 5am the wood pigeons and collared doves have woken up and the background hum of traffic is starting up again too.


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