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Words by Helen Reid:

Although setting the alarm for 4.30 may sound daunting, it was well worth it. We met at the West
Community Centre at 5.00 in the dark and set off into Botley Park. The blackbirds were already up
proclaiming their survival of the night and therefore their genetic superiority and Nick Boyd
explained that other species would gradually join in with the chorus.

Soon we heard the robins and the wrens (huge voice for a small bird) and then Nick picked up and
pointed out more and more species: blackcaps, great tits, chiffchaffs, blue tits, the waffle of a green
woodpecker, the rich repeated notes of the song thrush and the occasional bark of a pheasant.

As the dawn broke we were able to observe the birds through binoculars and also the telescope
which Nick had brought. At one point, we saw a cuckoo flying over head, which was a first for me
and the highlight of the morning.

My daughter counted up that we had seen or heard about 26 species, which is pretty incredible for a
local park. Nick’s passion, knowledge and frankly superhuman senses made it a delight and utterly
worth the insanely early start.


Our April Dawn Chorus walks were part of our 2023-24 wildlife event series – the next are our family insect day on June 18 at Hogacre Common Eco Park, and family butterfly picnic at Kingfisher Corner on July 22.  More information coming soon.

Find out more about LCWO’s wildlife work here.

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