Sunday 7th May 2017 : Dawn Chorus and Barbecue Breakfast

Macclesfield RSPB Wildlife Explorers celebrated International Dawn Chorus Day with an early morning walk at local National Trust property Hare Hill. Everyone set their alarms for just a few hours after they went to bed and the Leader team was on site to set up at 5.30am.
Birds sing in the early morning to take advantage of still air conditions in order to attract mates so a group of more than 35 explorers assembled by 6am to begin their Dawn Chorus walk. Leader Martin (for once wearing an ordinary hat) demonstrated the calls of some of the birds we expected to see, whilst Hope assisted by showing everyone pictures of each species. Explorer Emilia did a very capable safety talk on the use of binoculars.
The walk took the group around the formal gardens to the bird hide, up to and around Pistol Pond and then back to the walled garden. The very first sound the group heard was a woodpecker drumming – the sound carried incredibly well from the dead tree limb the bird had selected. Nuthatches were calling loudly, wrens and robins were singing and blackbird alarm calls were heard from the understorey.
At the walled garden everyone joined in to listen blindfolded (to hone their senses) to the ‘Sunrise Symphony’ and they played ‘Find your Flock’  – a game that demonstrates how different birds discern others of the same species from their calls.
At the end of the walk the catering team had provided a delicious barbecue breakfast. Local suppliers had provided donations to make a tasty open air breakfast that was second to none. Tegg’s Nose Tea Room provided sausages, Flour Water Salt donated ciabatta rolls and Barrows Butchers bacon – a real feast for the early morning birdwatchers.
Leaders Mark and Clair kept the bird list, keeping their ears primed and their eyes peeled for any birds the main group missed!
We spotted a total of 26 species:
Blue tit
Canada goose
Carrion crow
Coal tit
Great spotted woodpecker
Great tit
Lesser black-backed gull
Song thrush
Stock dove
Wood pigeon
Explorers also spotted the wooden hare sculptures dotted around the gardens and live squirrels and rabbits too!
We can highly recommend making the effort to listen to the Dawn Chorus – early morning birdsong is truly incredible at this time of year. It is a fantastic reminder that we are part of an amazing natural world.



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