Trillers In The Mist

Listening to a proper dawn chorus is always worth the effort of getting up early. As I parked at Staining Nook this morning it was hard to believe what I know about avian populations in Blackpool and Britain. It was wall to wall (or tree to tree) noise, a crescendo of birdsong. It was life affirming.

I followed the path south round the edge of Herons Reach Golf Course. Even in the cacophony a close Cetti’s Warbler exploding into song stopped me in my tracks. In the same way the sight of an egret locally will always have an air of the exotic about it for me, a singing Cetti’s still feels novel.

The Mere was drapsed in fog. I’ve seen pictures from friends on Facebook this morning showing it was clear at Stanley Park, just the other side of East Park Drive. I guess the birder in me would probably have liked the clear alternative, but overall I was happy soaking up the soundscape.

I had been trying to get to the Mere the last few days to hear the first arrivals of several warbler species, but illness and work got in the way. As it happened I saw my first scratchy singing Whitethroat yesterday evening in the shadow of Blackpool and the Fylde College.

There were still others to catch up with though, and I secured a hat trick of new for the year species. An enigmatic Grasshopper Warbler sang from cover, named for sounding like a cricket but also reminiscent of a fishing reel. The more varied melodies of Reed and Sedge Warblers were also percolating out through the foggy air.

There’s a short period from dawn at Marton Mere in spring where only the keenest dog walkers are out and for large amounts of time you can be alone with the wildlife. To finish where I came in, I recommend it to anyone local as a bucket list item every April or May. Set your alarm, you’ll be glad you did.

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