|Male Nightingale in roadside Hawthorn thicket, Shadoxhurst, 2015|
|Hearing is easy, but seeing Nightingales is very hard. This is one of the first birds I've seen in the last 5 weeks!|
Going by hearing song only can be difficult, this is especially so when the number of birds in a small area is high, but out in the open countryside it's much easier to calculate and register a Nightingale territory. In Shadoxhurst along towards Woodchurch then returning back to the trails of Orlestone Forest there are presently plenty of Nightingales in song.
Two birds in Packing Wood from 2014 are absent, but apart from these, there are dozens of Nightingales that have returned to established territories in roadside hedges and small isolated woodlands (Pound wood) around Shadoxhurst. The numbers of birds I'm hearing indicates a good healthy and widespread population quite surprising against a national picture of rapid and serious decline.
In Birchet, Long Rope, Stone Wood and Alex Pastures the last week has seen a noticeable number of birds singing at night on the periphery of the prime scrub nesting areas. Some of these Nightingales will be late arrival 'second wave' birds, and may not breed this year, but their singing will continue into mid-June.
Visiting the Orlestone woodlands at night and listening to the dramatic, loud song of such a large number of Nightingales is a highlight for me in spring and one of the joys of living in this small area of Kent. Listening from the back of the garden tonight the Nightingale song is distant and widespread but still a joy to hear. There are as many birds singing as I can ever remember.