HMCG Dawn Chorus beside the Helford River

Sunday 20th April 2008

At 6am, in the half light of a slightly misty hut dry morning. 15 persons converged on Goongillings Farm near Constantine to ioin Martin Rule and listen to the dawn chorus. Some of the birds were already in full voice. A wren interrupted its song to tick annoyance at the group and a chaffinch, likewise, gave vent to “spink-spink”. A wood pigeon cooed in the distance, more melodious than the pheasant’s harsh welcome to the new day. We walked slowly along the track and over the fields leading to Scott’s Quay, pausing at intervals for Martin to identify the sounds coming from the hedges and distant woods. At the barn, half-way. where Charlie Pugh the owner of the land told us that a barn owl was occasionally seen, the only occupant was a feral black cat which had just caught a baby rabbit. We turned down through Scott’s Wood and along the edge of Polwheveral Creek, accompanied by the sound of a greater spotted woodpecker drumming noisily on a tree but keeping tantalisingly out of sight. Two mute swans whooshed by on the wing and a chiff-chafi sang loudly from the Calamansack side. Unfortunately, with the tide at high. shoreline birds were not to be seen or heard, but two ravens performed acrobatics above us, croaking the while, and a dunnock sang from the hedge. Martin also identified great tit, goldcrest, blackcap and egret. Oddly, there was no blackbird, but in compensation a song thrush gave a serenade as we enjoyed coffee, buns and strawberry jam kindly provided by Barbara Pugh at the end of the excursion. Sincere thanks are due to Martin. Charlie and Barbara for making this such a pleasant and rewarding trip.

© Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area