The Early Bird Catches the Worm

6 May 2014


They say the early bird catches the worm, so last Sunday, on our inaugural International Dawn Chorus walk, and we were not disappointed!

The idea of this annual event is to celebrate nature's daily miracle - the Dawn Chorus. So this year, a group of twenty seasoned bird watchers and first-timers, set out in Hyde Park at 5am.

With no-one around, a clear sky and a beautiful blushing pink dawn, we heard the progression of calls from early robins and blackbirds through to later tits and blackcaps as insects became more active.

Highlights of the walk were a blackcap in full song posing on a convenient branch for all to see and a great spotted woodpecker which landed on a young oak at path side, drummed briefly then exhibited classic behaviour as it spiralled up the trunk, foraging as it went.

Robins accompanied our whole walk, even joining us on the path at times. The birdwatching novices amongst us were amazed by the impressive volume and range of song from such a small bird and grateful for their habit of perching in full view at the tops of trees. Occasionally birdsong was drowned out by the screeching of ring-necked parakeets but their flamboyant flashes of green brightened the early light.

A quick detour to the Serpentine gave us a brief time with the waterbirds where geese were squabbling, ducks displaying and a grey heron regally stood guard at the edge of Bird Island.

After two hours the early morning chill had well and truly seeped through our clothes and we stopped for a welcome hot drink at our home, the Isis Education Centre at The LookOut, where we could still hear the birdsong around us.

As we left the building and locked the gate, a green woodpecker called laughingly from the huge oak outside the entrance and glided to the ground in two bursts, a perfect end to an action-packed morning - not bad for central London!

Please note: the photo accompanying this blog is of a blackcap (by Tony Duckett) but was not taken on this walk, unfortunately it was too dark and we were too busy enjoying the chorus!

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Birds we saw on our Dawn Chorus walk

  • Robin
  • Great tit
  • Blackbird
  • Blue tit
  • Wren
  • Blackcap
  • Chiffchaff
  • Coal tit
  • Green woodpecker
  • Great spotted woodpecker
  • Magpie
  • Crow
  • Wood pigeon
  • Greylag goose
  • Canada goose
  • Tufted duck
  • Pochard
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Grey heron
  • Mute swan

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