This morning I awoke to the sound of a curlew making its ‘bubbling’ song as it flew over the village. In the time I listened to it I went from semi consciousness believing it to be a dream, to being wide awake and relishing the sound of each note. I have always been woken by bird song. Even back in my school days when I spent a lot of time studying spotted flycatchers in our garden, their thin high pitched calls would awake me from deep sleep before 5am as effectively as an alarm clock, continuing even through my teenage years! The sound of swifts screaming literally makes me to jump out of bed; when the first non-breeding swifts descend from their aerial roost and perform their first dawn fly-past I am dressed and outside within a couple of minutes!
We are very lucky to have some scarce species within earshot of the house; I have been fortunate to awake to the sound of turtle dove, curlew and cuckoo. Somehow in a sub conscious state my brain continues to react to bird song. As the days lengthen I wake earlier and earlier, the clocks going forward provide some relief for a while but I have come to accept that there is nothing I can do about it. But those early mornings have led to many of my most memorable and beautiful encounters of the natural world.
Blackbirds have really ramped up their song in the last couple of weeks. On warmer days they sing frequently in the afternoon but their peak singing times are early morning, around 5.30am and towards dusk at about 6.30pm. Recent twilights have been beautiful and it is mesmerising to stand outside at this time to watch the sky and listen to the blackbirds.