Top 7 spots to hear the dawn chorus

Make the effort to haul yourself out of bed before sunrise this spring to be rewarded with a rhapsody of birdsong, says Mark Rowe

1st March 2017
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1 Barkbooth Lot, Crosthwaite, Cumbria

A mixture of open fell land and mature oak attract woodland and scrubland birds including pied flycatcher, redstart, greater spotted and green woodpeckers, treecreeper, mistle thrush, redpoll, chiffchaff and maybe even hawfinch. The adjacent open fell holds  several species, too.  

2 Mere Sands Wood, Ormskirk, Lancashire

A brilliant cacophony of woodland birdsong greets bleary-eyed visitors, such as mistle thrush, song thrush, blackbird, robin, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, nuthatch and bullfinch.

3 Lytes Carey, Somerset

More than 20 species nest in the grounds of this Tudor manor house in east Somerset. Listen out for the fluid bubbling of the blackcap, along with goldfinches and warblers  such as chiffchaff and willow warbler, as well as songthrush, blackbird, greenfinch, firecrest, goldcrest, green woodpecker, reed bunting and linnet.

4 Minsmere, Suffolk

The iconic Minsmere reserve mixture of woodlands, wetlands and coast is one of the most magical places to enjoy the dawn chorus, as everything from bitterns to nightingales, Cetti’s warblers to avocets,  join in as the sun rises.

5 Mount Stewart, County Down

Positioned on the Ards peninsula south of Belfast, Mount Stewart’s micro-climate allows exotic plants to flourish and, alongside native flora, supports a host of birds including blackcap, song thrush, chiffchaff, willow warbler, mistle thrush, chaffinch and robin.

6 Slindon Estate, Arundel, West Sussex

This walk is good for hearing a variety of songbirds at once, including nuthatch, treecreeper and great spotted woodpecker, along with warblers such as whitethroats, chiffchaffs and blackcaps and resident farmland birds such as skylark, yellowhammer and linnet.

7 RSPB Scotland Wood of Cree, Dumfries and Galloway

The largest ancient wood in southern Scotland really comes alive in spring with a mix of African migrants and woodland residents such as wood warbler, pied flycatcher, redstart and spotted flycatcher.

Mark Rowe is a journalist specialising in travel, wildlife and the environment.

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