After a week of strong westerly winds, Saturday night began to sink into a calm clear stary night. George's idea completely, he'd already put a 3-man tent up in the afternoon and wanted to camp out for the first night this year. We built a fire to warm us up and and then settled down listening to a few distant Nightingales a barking fox, a hooting Tawny Owl and seeing the first Brimestone Moths of the year sitting by the Moth trap. We slept-out until 5.30am, then after Porridge for Breakfast, we drove straight down to Dungeness to look for Skuas - (we missed a flock of 11 Pomarine Skuas by just 30 minutes).
Back to the garden dawn chorus, the Nightingales singing really picked-up pre-sunrise probably at around 3am. At this time of night they had the woods almost to themselves, with no distant cars or barking dogs to compete with, they sounded much closer and more numerous than anytime I've heard them before. At 4.30 a Cuckoo began calling and never really stopped until 6.oo. Other early birds included a calling Pheasant a Dunnock a plethora of Robins and Blackbirds. A Song Thrush added more mixture to the sound, slowly drowning out the distant Nightingales. As the sunrised, all the commoner Garden birds were calling - Greenfinches, Collared Doves and Blue Tits.
We both felt cold when we woke-up but it was a great experience, we know that while Cuckoo's and Nightingales seem almost absent by day, they are never far away atdawn. Hopefully we will camp again soon - weather permitting!