Up with the larks… and the reed warbler, the chiff chaff, the song thrush…

5 June 2019
BY:
Claire Hector

Need an extra reason to get up early in the mornings?! What’s better than to listen out for the early morning birdsong… the Dawn Chorus. It helps having an expert naturalist to help decode it all though. Our one, Ian Boyd, led us out for Dawn Chorus Magic at the very end of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival a couple of weeks ago, with 20 people joining us in the pitch black at the start of the Island’s most tuneful walk! This annual foray is also part of our @shapingthebay Discovery Bay calendar of events which offers free ways to learn about wildlife in and around Sandown Bay. Each year, we explore the Eastern Yar where the cycle path cuts a straight line through the birdsong and wildspaces on either side. As Ian explained, birds live on a knife edge, a balancing act of energy expenditure; they are singing to establish territory for feeding and breeding. Listening out for birdsong species by species also gave us an understanding of just one of the effects of climate change… via the calls of chiff chaffs and blackcaps who now increasingly overwinter in the UK and are newer additions to the orchestral roll call. We also learned how the food we put out in our gardens or balconies makes a huge difference… the collective feeding and providing of water of birds in winter has been incredibly important as many species of birds retreat or move into urban areas. Gardens (if planted not tarmaced obvs) also provide high ecological variety and refuge too to support our birdlife. And the species tally for 2019? Reed warblers, shouty wrens, song thrush and blackcaps were out in force. We missed the nightingale this year though! Head out there for yourselves and let us know if you hear one!

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