Friday, 16 May 2014

There is magic woven into the fabric of the night.

Last night saw the first warm and still evening of the past week or maybe more.  Carpe diem and all that, I headed out into a bright light, full moon night, sometime after 10. First stop a garden listen which produced a Little Owl calling down the field, a Barn Owl ghosted across the causeway and nothing sang, grunted, hooted or called from the Queen Adelaide Way bank.  Before arriving at the Beet Pits I'd heard a roadside Grasshopper Warbler and at the reed bed Little Grebe giggled and a brief burst of Cetti's Warbler burst out while Reed and Sedge Warbler sang.  A flyover Whimbrel over Bens house lived up to it's folky name of seven whistler and was one of three I was to hear during the night.  There were no Nightingales to be heard at Roswell, more's the pity, and it appears we have lost them for this year.

Out to the Washes where Tawny Owl and assorted wildfowl made a soft din.  Lapwing song peewitted up and down, rolling and bouncing just like the flight actions of their tumbling display.  Away across the summerlands a Black-tailed Godwit wittered away amidst the drumming Snipe and agitated Redshank.  I checked likely Spotted Crake spots to no avail, including a prolonged spell at Oxlode where I had heard one earlier in the month. The Bittern that had been booming last week didn't man up and thump the air either.

A little disappointed after a good start I decided to leave the Washes and check some other sites.  I was over the moon when, at my first stop, the persistent whip of Spotted Crake song could be heard across the now chilly air.  Grasshopper Warblers were also evident amidst the chatter of Sedge Warblers and a Bittern hoofed out a cracked boom a couple of times.  A walk closer to the Crake allowed some low-fi voice recording on the phone.

A wonderful hypnosis washed over as layers of monotonous reeling drones and metronomic whips were laced with drumming Snipe and the scratches and chunterings of Acrocephalus melody.  With the full moon risen and the mist hanging just above the damp fen grass sward there was intoxicating magic woven into the fabric of the night.