CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

The Cotswold chorus of birdsong

15:24 22 May 2015

House sparrow

House sparrow

Archant

It’s now full speed ahead into summer, with the natural world hitting the fast lane as the warmer weather approaches. Sue Bradley discovers the sounds and sights of summer

House sparrowHouse sparrow

Some of the world’s finest musical performers are now taking centre stage at venues near you, but there’s no need to queue for tickets. Instead set the alarm for dawn, open the window and lie back and immerse yourself in the sound of the Cotswolds Chorus. Better still, get up even earlier on a fine, clear day, dress warmly and head for a local woodland to enjoy these virtuoso performances in glorious surround sound.

Nature’s symphony is at its best now that the full complement of avian performers has assembled, with summer visitors such as nightingales, chiffchaffs and blackcaps adding their voices to the songs of home-grown superstars such as blackbirds and robins. Together they produce a rich tapestry of sound, their individual calls building into an intricate counterpoint that is best experienced during the still air of early morning, before its beauty is obscured by the drone of daily life.

Robins, blackbirds and song thrushes are usually the first voices to emerge around an hour before sunrise, producing beautiful solos before the rest of the ensemble join in.

Some species, such as house sparrows, know just one simple melody, while birds such as song thrushes and nightingales have large repertoires. Most of the performers choose a lofty perch from which to perform, while buntings and skylarks are among those that sing on the wing.

Generally the Cotswold Chorus is a male-voice choir, with its members singing their hearts out as the days lengthen in the hope of making females aware of their presence and warning rivals to keep away from their territories.

Experts have found that all birdsong is learned rather than being inherited, with fledglings initially producing ‘subsongs’ that develop as the year progresses. Starlings even go as far as to reproduce man made sounds that they encounter. The source of a bird’s song is its syrinx, which in simple terms is a kind of double voice box at the bottom of their windpipe that contains two sets of membranes and muscles that vibrate at high frequencies as air is exhaled. Some species produce more than one note at a time by alternating the lungs it uses to breathe in and out.

Nature reserves looked after by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, particularly Lower Woods, Siccaridge Woods near Sapperton and Betty Daw’s Wood near Dymock, are among the top spots for securing the best seats for the Cotswolds Chorus.

Dawn chorus nightingaleDawn chorus nightingale

www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk

The nightingale

The song of the nightingale is a sound of early summer that has inspired lines from some of the greatest names in English literature.

John Keats described it as a ‘light-winged Dryad of the trees’, while in a story by Oscar Wilde, a nightingale sings as it sacrifices itself in order to create a perfect rose for a love-struck student. The bird’s name dates back many years and is said to mean ‘night songstress’, even though it’s the males that make the beautiful music.

Known in Latin as Luscinia megarhynchos, the nightingale is a migratory bird belonging to the thrush family. It arrives in the UK in April and sings its melodious combinations of high and low notes during May and early June, both day and night, before returning to Africa to overwinter between July and September.

While its rich song is unmistakable, the nightingale is hard to spot due to its preference for hiding in thick bushes and brambles. It is a little larger than a robin and pale brown in colour with a long chestnut-coloured tail.

Nightingales feed on ground-living insects. They build nests from dead leaves, grass and hair in brambles or nettles that are fairly close to the ground and lay their eggs in May, with their young flying after 11 days.

Walk 4 Wildlife

Runners and joggers will be joining those who prefer to enjoy Gloucestershire’s glorious countryside at a more leisurely pace for this year’s Walk 4 Wildlife, which takes place on Sunday June 28.

The event, one of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s key fundraisers, is set to cover a 13-mile route taking in no fewer than three peaks.

It starts at Crickley Hill, with its spectacular views of the Cotswold escarpment, before passing through beautiful beech woodlands and limestone grassland to reach Coopers Hill and then crossing farm land to reach Robinswood Hill.

A shorter route covering three miles is also being organised around Robinswood Hill for children and less energetic walkers.

Everybody taking part will be awarded a medal and refreshments will be provided at the half way point of the route. Meanwhile walkers reaching the end of the route will be able to able to take part in activities organised as part of the Trust’s Go Wild event, at which there will be a climbing wall, obstacle course, archery sessions, crafts and Landrover and tractor rides.

GWT Community fundraiser Sara Clark says Walk 4 Wildlife is a great way to exercise the body and the mind.

“The route will especially appeal to people who enjoy trail running as it offers several different terrains,” she says.

“Everybody taking part in Walk 4 Wildlife will be treated to beautiful views; it’s a great way to see Gloucestershire from a different view point and it’s a great day out for families.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Candia McKormack experiences the extreme highs and lows of an astonishing comedy with a dark – but warm – heart

Read more
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Filter or no filter, these locations are picture-perfect!

Read more
Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Cotswolds is a county of beauty: with mesmerising views of the scenery, beautiful landmarks to discover and rolling green countryside to explore, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a walk. We pick 8 walks for you to try and have found the nearby pubs to prepare for your ramble or reward yourself when you finish!

Read more
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Nestled in the valley between Broadway and Cheltenham, the charming town of Winchcombe is famous for its Cotswold stone cottages, narrow side streets and delightful independent shops. Take a look at our guide to help you make the most of your visit to this historic town that’s bursting with character.

Read more
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Schumann Project features nearly 100 events, including some 40 song recitals, piano and chamber music recitals, choral works, study events, films, readings and masterclasses World class artists and emerging stars take to the stage in 21 venues all over the city, with all of Robert Schumann’s and Clara Schumann’s songs to be performed over sixteen days

Read more
Monday, September 5, 2016

Lynne Ede visits the Gloucestershire town of Newent ahead of its annual extravaganza

Read more
Friday, August 26, 2016

Lavender has proved an unexpected tourist attraction for one Cotswold farmer

Read more
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Cotswolds as an Area Of Outstanding Beauty, there’s plenty going on to fill the end of the school holidays with fun and activities

Read more
Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Gloucestershire’s Charlotte Dujardin retains her Olympic title, whilst posting a new Olympic record with her dancing partner Valegro at Rio 2016

Read more
Monday, August 15, 2016

Pick your way through a moonscape of rocks and crags and you’ll find some amazing wildlife in Gloucestershire

Read more
Monday, August 8, 2016

When the race is run a plethora of events flock to Cheltenham Racecourse, as Tracey Spiers discovers

Read more
Monday, August 1, 2016

Perhaps one of the most famous locations in the Cotswolds, Bourton-on-the-Water is renowned for its pretty waterside views and quaint limestone buildings. We’ve assembled a guide to help you make the most of your time in this picture-perfect village.

Read more
Monday, August 1, 2016

From the honey-coloured stone cottages in Burford, to the medieval architecture of Winchcombe high street, the Cotswolds are home to some of the most beautiful scenes in the world. But how many of these pretty towns and villages have you visited?

Read more
Friday, July 22, 2016

HRH The Prince of Wales, Patron of The Wildlife Trusts since 1977, visited Daneway Banks Nature Reserve on Thursday, July 21, 2016 following a successful public appeal by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT)

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:


Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
subscription ad
Cotswold Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Cotswold's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search