Dawn Chorus Walk at Warburg Nature Reserve

misty trees

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Dawn Chorus at Warburg, 4th May 2008
The Ravenous Rambler was up before the larks this morning. 3.30 am to be precise and then down to the Warburg nature reserve in the Bix valley for International Dawn Chorus Day.
It was still dark as we drove down the flooded winding lane deep in the Oxfordshire countryside. There were some shadowy figures standing around and our host – Gavin Hageman was giving a running commentary on what we might see. I worked out that the event was being recorded for Oxfordshire radio by Phil Mercer and whilst I was rummaging around in the boot, Mrs Rambler was being interviewed for the programme!
There were a few tawny owl hoots and then the skylarks kicked in along with blackbirds and mistle thrush. Then the robins started to sing and it all started to get a bit confusing.  We, there were about eighteen hardy souls, all went for a walk around the reserve and we heard black caps, chiff chaff and willow warbler and I was quite pleased to get these sounds into my head. Also distinguishing between blue tits and great tits. The great tits’ call is like “teacher..teacher”, whereas the blue tit is more “see…see…see”. We heard the green woodpecker with its cackle like cry.
The sun loomed up without giving much away – it was a dull day but the walk was excellent, through the chalky pastures and Chiltern beech woods. There were fields of cowslips and rings of mushrooms to spot.

This reserve is one of the oldest run by BBOWT. It nestles in a deep wooded valley in the Chiltern Hills and is a superb nature reserve with a network of interesting walks that link up with a variety of other footpaths that go outside the reserve. The mixture of chalk grasslands and ancient woodlands make it an excellent place to spot a wide variety of birds and butterflies.
It was with some relief that we headed back to the start where Gavin set to making breakfast on a camp stove and we all enjoyed bacon and egg sandwiches which have never tasted better. Red kits soared overhead but they weren’t getting my bacon roll!
Back home – it was back to bed with a pot of tea and we tuned into Radio Oxford to hear it all over again.