Outing Report

Cabinteely Park , Co. Dublin - 20th May 2012.

National Dawn Chorus Day

It was a beautiful bright, still, dry and relatively mild morning. We had a wonderful turn out of 65 adults and 2 younger people, no small feat for the 4am start! Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland and a member of the South Dublin Branch led the walk.

We began in the car park where a Robin and Blackbird could be heard as we got out of our cars. Niall explained this is because the birds get confused in built up, well lit areas and can end up singing, sometimes, through the night. Niall gave a run through of what to expect, why the birds sing, and in what order.

The birds with the biggest eye relative to their brain size sing first. So it is usually Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush, followed by the Wren. As we moved in to the park we could pick out the Robins asserting themselves and the 'fluty' song of the Blackbirds. It was not long until they were joined by the Song Thrush in fine voice, and soon there was a wonderful symphony going on.

It was not long until the loudest little bird joined in - the Wren and soon they were calling from almost every bush. Shortly after the 'squeaky wheel' song of the tiny Goldcrest was heard. We then had Jackdaws clacking, but soon the background was that soothing cooing of Woodpigeons; whoo- whoo-whoo- whoo, whoo-whoo whoo-whoo- whoo. When one listens carefully, one can pick up the rhythm of their call and will never again mistake it for the Cuckoo!

As we did a loop around the Park birds began to fly about, some Herring Gulls, Rooks, Jackdaws and Blackbirds. We also spotted a pair of Grey Herons feeding in a grassy area, however they did not join in the chorus. As the Blue and Great Tits joined in with the Chaffinch and Greenfinch we noticed that the Robins and Blackbirds had become almost silent, and it was only 5am. So if you do not get up for the 4am start you miss the rising crescendo.

We were lucky to hear and see some Treecreepers and at the end of our trip a Blackcap delighted, when he burst into song as we made our way back to the carpark. Back to bed for some and others were planning a hearty, well deserved breakfast.

Eleanor Keane

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