Trip report: Dawn Chorus walk from Shipbourne Common

Date: 5 May 2024

Fourteen early-risers gathered in the darkness on Shipbourne Common on Sunday May 5 for our annual dawn chorus walk. Robins and Blackbirds were first to sing with Song Thrush joining not long after. As we set off through the churchyard and into the fields, we heard Skylarks and a distant Cuckoo, along with commoner species like Chiffchaff, Wren and Goldcrest. Climbing the hill towards the Ightham Estate, we paused to take in the view. The early morning mist lying in the dips made for a very atmospheric sight.

As we climbed further towards Ightham, while trying to spot a vocal Whitethroat, we first heard, and then saw, a Tree Pipit atop a pine tree. I would guess this was a bird on migration that wouldn’t be lingering for long. We were certainly lucky to find it.

We made a circuit of the woods and then headed back towards Shipbourne. As we admired the Mandarin ducks beside a pond, a bird of prey landed in a tree . We were most surprised to find ourselves looking at a Peregrine, bird of the morning for many in the group.

While the variety of species might not have matched other years, it had been a lovely walk and, as always, it felt very special to be sharing the dawn with the early birds.

List of species:

Tree Pipit
Peregrine
Cuckoo (h)
Mandarin Duck
Blackcap (h)
Ring-necked Parakeet
Kestrel
Whitethroat
Song Thrush (h)
Blackbird (h)
Blue Tit

Goldcrest (h)
Grey Wagtail
Chiffchaff (h)
Herring Gull
Canada Goose
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Woodpigeon
Dunnock
Goldfinch
Wren (h)

Robin
Skylark
Great Tit
Chaffinch (h)
Pied Wagtail
Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Mallard
Pheasant
Stock Dove (h)