International Dawn Chorus Day

1 May 2022

After a two-year absence that needs no explaining, our group was able to return to the St Ives Estate in Bingley for the annual International Dawn Chorus Day.

Led by local expert, Mark Doveston, a large group took an early-morning tour of the varied habitats to be found in this public park. We commenced at the Coppice Pond, where the now resident swans came to greet us, used to being fed daily.

Tufted Duck

Common woodland birds accompanied the group as they took a clockwise turn around the estate. A couple of the first swallows to arrive in this area this year were seen swooping and diving above the trees. It was lovely to hear the willow warbler – but the wood warbler and garden warbler had not yet arrived in the area. The hoped-for tree pipit also failed to materialise.

A pied flycatcher was heard on the top of the hill and later in the older woodland below the pond. This was encouraging as twenty years ago, pied flycatchers were identified in the area and to encourage them to remain, many nest boxes were put up around the estate. The species then disappeared! It made a reappearance three years ago, and the fact that it is still being heard suggests that it has re-established a territory in the area.

Having hidden itself away all morning, the nuthatch gave itself away with its distinctive ‘pew pew pew pew, chwee chwee’ right at the end of the walk.

Having Mark with us throughout the walk was invaluable for his expertise in identifying birdsong, as well as knowing the likely places where the birds are likely to be heard.

Birds identified (39): robin, mallard, mute swan, black-headed gull, tufted duck, coot, coal tit, great tit, swallow, moorhen, woodpigeon, treecreeper, chiffchaff, blackcap, willow warbler, goldcrest, blackbird, song thrush, dunnock, pheasant, carrion crow, chaffinch, siskin, coal tit, curlew, skylark, long-tailed tit, pied flycatcher, redpoll, lesser whitethroat, jay, jackdaw, mistle thrush, stock dove, great spotted woodpecker, sparrowhawk, greylag, lesser-black-backed gull, nuthatch.