15th April 2013
This evening was one of those lovely patch moments, glorious sunshine and lots of birdsong. There was however a particular purpose for my visit, the discovery of a Nightingale at Whitlingham for the second year running. Handily I was visiting the in-laws in Lakenham when I heard about it, so I borrowed a pair of binoculars and headed down to the C.P. Walking along the north shore I stopped to find my first patch Blackcap of the year, singing rather softly from some Alders. The message I had received had said 'north shore', so I decided to head to a likely area and wait. Whilst listening I heard my first Willow Warbler of the year nearby.
After a while I began to wonder whether the Nightingale would sing at all, or was I out of earshot? Another birder appeared, and he decided to continue further round and listen from there. A short while later he beckoned me along the path, and a few seconds later I moved into earshot of a singing Nightingale. It was close by but initially hidden from my view in an area of scrub, but it didn't take long before it flew into a small willow. I was able to keep on it, and we were treated to excellent views as it perched in full view, singing with gusto. The song seemed to attract the interest of other birds. A male Blackcap came into the tree but was ignored. Two Long-tailed Tits then hopped towards the Nightingale, which stopped singing and chased one of them around the tree and out into the next bush. The Long-tailed Tit did attempt to return, but was chased off again. I listened for a little while longer, before leaving and returning the binoculars.
Whilst waiting for the Nightingale I also saw a Swallow (and two Willow Warblers on the way back). This puts me in the unlikely position of actually being ahead of my usual mid-April tally, despite the late spring. This gives me a slight chance of beating my earliest 100 (4th May), but I'll need some luck, maybe a Tern influx?
Many thanks to the finder for releasing news of the Nightingale.