Dawn Chorus

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0520150327

052015032720150914 (R4)

As a wildlife sound recordist, Chris Watson has been lucky enough to travel around the world listening to bird song, and is convinced that the very best dawn chorus in the world is here in Britain. From late March until mid-June, between 3am and 6am, there is a tremendous outpouring of song in woodlands between latitudes 50 to 55 degrees north. Resident birds are joined by migrant birds from Africa and Eastern Europe whose voices coalesce into an international chorus which fills our woodlands well before sunrise. Chris decided to try and capture a dawn chorus in a landscape he knew well as he would have to set up microphones in the dark, so he chose Suffolk. It was early May when he set out one evening down the old railway path which links Aldeburgh with Thorpeness. He arranged his microphones by a likely looking area of birch and alder trees, although the first sounds he heard were not birds but the bells of Aldeburgh parish church nearly two miles to the south. The bells faded under the sounds rooks, jackdaws and pheasants returning to their roost. There then followed the sounds of the night; owls, deer and foxes. At 2.30am Chris heard the first bird song, when a nightingale began to sing. This was a beautiful solo voice in the darkness. Soon other birds joined the Nightingale; Robin, Song thrush, Blackbird and Wren, until at 4am the chorus had developed to the extent that it was difficult to pick out any individual. With the first rays of daylight, the chorus began to subside and the pattern of song was changed by the late arrivals. As Chris returned back along the footpath, he was accompanied by the cries of curlew rising off the marshes and heading inland - a perfect end to a wonderful dawn chorus. Producer Sarah Blunt.

052015032720150914 (R4)

As a wildlife sound recordist, Chris Watson has been lucky enough to travel around the world listening to bird song, and is convinced that the very best dawn chorus in the world is here in Britain. From late March until mid-June, between 3am and 6am, there is a tremendous outpouring of song in woodlands between latitudes 50 to 55 degrees north. Resident birds are joined by migrant birds from Africa and Eastern Europe whose voices coalesce into an international chorus which fills our woodlands well before sunrise. Chris decided to try and capture a dawn chorus in a landscape he knew well as he would have to set up microphones in the dark, so he chose Suffolk. It was early May when he set out one evening down the old railway path which links Aldeburgh with Thorpeness. He arranged his microphones by a likely looking area of birch and alder trees, although the first sounds he heard were not birds but the bells of Aldeburgh parish church nearly two miles to the south. The bells faded under the sounds rooks, jackdaws and pheasants returning to their roost. There then followed the sounds of the night; owls, deer and foxes. At 2.30am Chris heard the first bird song, when a nightingale began to sing. This was a beautiful solo voice in the darkness. Soon other birds joined the Nightingale; Robin, Song thrush, Blackbird and Wren, until at 4am the chorus had developed to the extent that it was difficult to pick out any individual. With the first rays of daylight, the chorus began to subside and the pattern of song was changed by the late arrivals. As Chris returned back along the footpath, he was accompanied by the cries of curlew rising off the marshes and heading inland - a perfect end to a wonderful dawn chorus. Producer Sarah Blunt.