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A photograph of a robin looking over his wing by Paul Moore

Dawn Chorus in the Glen

SUNDAY 5 May 5.30 am

It finally arrived – the Dawn Chorus – the day members of Birdwatch Ireland Cork Branch lead us into the Glen to tune into the birds. I had been much anticipating this day and was somewhat disappointed when the team pragmatically deferred the meeting time from 4.15  to 5.30 – part of my excitement being the early morning call and the Glen valley holds the sunrise so beautifully, as it did on this clear sky morning.

We were a very eager crowd of about 30, including families, birders, locals and enthusiasts from across Cork and we are greeted by Paul Moore, Allan Farrell, Letizia Cocchiglia, Kieran Dwane and Tom O Driscoll who had already arrived. None had been i the park before, it was Connor O’Keefe who had done the recki in the winter, what a treat to lead them down into the valley and for them to be surprised by our Glen, the discovery feeling more mutual this way. The song thrush was throwing his sound shapes at the portal, we are guided to listen for the 3 time repeats. We were only half way down when we were paused to hear the “Teacher two teachers” call of the Great tit. The Wren with his ending ratatatat

It was an amazing morning being in the middle of so much drama, and humbling to hear how birds adapt despite all odds, in the face of global warming and climate change, and predators overhead, and dirty bird feeders  – they climb to the tops of the trees and give it all they’ve got. We hear all about their amazing vocal apparatus that enables such virtuosic performances, we hear how they must climb down before the light makes them a target and they mus also feed after the efforts of the song and the cold of the night, some have travelled far to be here and we welcome them in our Glen Valley even as they are unaware of us mere humans.

Click on the blue headings below to hear sound files

On the way down (listen here)

Down a little further in the bushes we hear the chiff chaff of the Chiff chaff, come from sub Saharan Africa

Chiffchaff  (listen)

We move into the bed of the valley and stop on Rope Walk to hear the birds in the tops of the trees Thrush, Robin, all about the calls of male and female robins through the season, the jazzy freeform Blackbird and an alarm call perhaps, anticipating the buzzard seen by humans later over head.

Tree top birds (beware) (listen)

The video below captures treetop flaunters, also marking the moment a buzzard is heard overhead


Song thrush (listen)

We walk along side the ponds with their willows and the Swamp Cypress trees and hear the willow warbler, also arrived from sub Saharan Africa, sylvanian warblers, not phased by a low flying jet. The influence of Climate Change, how much West is left …?

Willowwarbler (listen)

A Jay stops us in our tracks, all about birds vocals, the fascinating syrinx white throats and the stories of the routes they take as tracked by their colleague, Seán Ronayne in their songs.

Jay (listen)

The Black Cap has a throaty flutey song – the Knightingale of the North. More influences of global warming and bird migrations and adaptations: wings grow shorter as distances shorten. Shortstopping keeping waterfowl home. The Buzzard is heard overhead.

Black Cap (listen)

We hear a chafficnh by the gate post at the Engineer’s house, conversation about garden birds and parasites, disease and feeder hygene, chiffchaff, blackcap

Chaffinch (listen)

Near the hatch we hear the smallest bird, heard overhead in the heathland where the gorse is burnt.  Gorse is the nesting ground for Stonechat, Goldfinch, Linnet. Chat about birds different territorial markers, size, accent and pitch

Goldcrest (listen)

we are advised to pick one or two bird songs at a time and keep building from there

It’s not rocket science – it’s ornithology (listen)

What a treat it was, thank you Paul Moore, Allan Farrell, Letizia Cocchiglia, Kieran Dwane and Tom O Driscoll for the tour.

and to another Paul Moore, photographer, for our picture of the Robin 🙂

Roll on dawn chorus 2025  (*>  (*>  {@v@}

Birdwatch Ireland Cork Website

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Dawn Chorus announcement