Monday, May 04, 2009

Post dawn chorus - Dunwich

Saturday April 25, 2009:

I can’t persuade anyone to actually get up at dawn and have to be contented with a pre breakfast saunter. AS we walk up the road out of the village, we are encircled by cheerful singing. The garden birds are in fine voice.

Mr Show-off, the blackbird sings from every corner. I imagine him perched up high on a sunlit branch, his head thrown back and his beak open singing to the morning, his song a shower of freshness, heart lifting and courage finding. The wren soon joins in with its elaborate trilling song, surprisingly loud for such a small and humble looking little bird. Not to be outdone, the robins begin quarrelling in the tree tops and then singing as hard as they can.

Here the road is boarded by big houses, set back in their own spacious gardens, backed by a cool coppice. High in the tree canopy the yaffle of a green woodpecker echoes, is punctuated by the snappy “jack, jack” of the jackdaw and the bad-tempered screech of the jay. I swear I hear the gentle hooting of an owl, clearly confused by the time of day.

From behind a barn, a cockerel crows and a dog barks. The chaffinches are duelling the tits with their songs and the black cap occasionally punctuates their noise with his thrilling warble.

We stop still and listen. There amongst the bushes of a bare plot of land, a nightingale begins his distinctive song. Twice in 24 hours. I feel honoured. Dodging out of the way of the milk van, we move on.

“Do you know how to tell the difference between a pidgin and a dove,” says my companion. She goes on to explain that a wood pigeon sings “my feet hurt Betty”, the collar-dove, “My feet hurt” and the stock Dover “feet hurt”. I stop and listen and sure enough, the wood pigeon is importuning the uncomplaining Betty about his poor feet. The Collar dove gets to the point with his simple statement and the stock dove, presumably too exhausted to waste words gets to the nub of the matter.

My stomach growls. A partridge shrieks and a crow caws. Somewhere in the distance, a gull peons. We make our way swiftly back to the Inn in search of breakfast.


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