Hello, Jess here at Green Minds. Today I would love to share with you my experiences of listening to the dawn chorus along the River Wye.......I hope the recording will transport you to life at 5am along the river bank, and maybe even inspire you to listen in to the dawn chorus one morning this month :-)
Last week on the 3rd May I made it up and out for the dawn chorus and to join in celebration of International Dawn Chorus Day. An annual event taking place on the first Sunday in May. I slowly wended my way down through a quiet woodland, the bright white of the hawthorn blossom lighting my way, until I reached the river. Under a canopy of oak, ash & sycamore I sat and listened in wonder, absorbing the chorus that surrounded me, watching the sky's gradual fade into light. I find it deeply calming and restorative tuning into bird song. For me, finding stillness in a woodland, or sat quietly at the rivers edge can provide the immersive experience, and an antidote to the challenging times we find ourselves in like no other.
The birds are at their busiest this time of year, the males protecting their territories, singing their hearts out in the hope of attracting a female companion. Many of the birds we see and hear this spring have arrived after long and often perilous journeys back to the UK to breed and I am reminded again how very precious they are. During this time of lockdown, with much less noise and traffic on the roads and in the sky we have a wonderful opportunity to tune in to the natural sounds around us, and we don't have to go very far. Even from our beds or within our immediate outdoor spaces we can hear the birds singing.
At this time of year sunrise is around 5.20am, so if you are up about an hour before then you will be able to hear the dawn chorus in all it's glory....(It's an early start, but I guarantee it's worth it!)
The audio recording above is from my dawn chorus walk along the river Wye last Sunday.
I'll sign out with this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver.
Such Singing in the Wild Branches
"It was spring
and I finally heard him
among the first leaves –
then I saw him clutching the limb
in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.
First, I stood still
and thought of nothing.
Then I began to listen.
Then I was filled with gladness –
and that's when it happened,
when I seemed to float,
to be, myself, a wing or a tree –
and I began to understand
what the bird was saying,
and the sands in the glass
for a pure white moment
while gravity sprinkled upward
like rain, rising,
and in fact
it became difficult to tell just what it was that was singing––
it was the thrush for sure, but it seemed
not a single thrush, but himself, and all his brothers,
and also the trees around them,
as well as the gliding, long-tailed clouds
in the perfect blue sky – all of them
And, of course, so it seemed,
so was I.
Such soft and solemn and perfect music doesn't last
For more than a few moments.
It's one of those magical places wise people
like to talk about.
One of the things they say about it, that is true,
is that, once you've been there,
you're there forever.
Listen, everyone has a chance.
Is it spring, is it morning?
Are there trees near you,
and does your own soul need comforting?
Quick, then––open the door and fly on your heavy feet; the song
may already be drifting away."
- Mary Oliver