Sixteen surprisingly alert, muffledup people assembled at the Visitors' Centre at 4.30am. Six were from Louth; three of whom were LWT members. Warden James Forrester's briefing was interrupted by the calls of Robins, Song thrushes and Blackbirds. These birds are the real early. As we moved stealthily through the woods the volume of noise increased together with the number of songsters. Chaffinches joined in, the Chiffchaff was easy to identify as were Pheasants coughing in the undergrowth. The silver and grey vegetation slowly turned to shades of green as the dawn broke when we began to see some birds; Blue tits and a Willow warbler sat on branches above our heads. The Wrens and Blackcaps were definitely heard but not seen.
The vista opened out to reveal a couple of Whitethroats singing and leaping in the air from a hedge of brambles. This was mating behaviour not the effect of the bramble thorns. Our old friends the Collared doves and Wood pigeons could hardly be heard as we approached the din of the rookery at the far end of the reserve whilst a Jay and a Corn bunting flew past. I am sure that we saw other species but I was enjoying the peace and very fresh air so much that I did not make any notes. Birds were not the only noise makers; the bark of the Muntjac deer sounded just like a dog. We smelt Fox and James caught a glimpse of one. On the way back to Louth we saw a Muntjac and Hares on the road as well as Rabbits.
I have been on a few 'Dawn Chorus' outings and have never failed to enjoy myself. But part of me says why not go into the garden with a cup of tea in my hand or down by the Navigation at six o'clock in the morning when I know that I will hear Robins, Song thrushes and Blackbirds and perhaps Blackcaps whilst Blue tits, Great tits and Coal tits are active all day long. And if I were to stand quietly by the canal bank I would most likely see a Kingfisher.
Ray Woodcock 05/05/2014