This morning, in the early hours that coincided with sunrise, a group of us ventured out onto the Park to experience one of nature’s true splendours, the famous “Springtime Dawn Chorus”.

Binoculars at the ready

Bleary eyed and fuelled with coffee we gathered together at the Nethercliffe Entrance, and soon were wide awake. It was impossible not to be when listening in to the Park’s extensive bird population all proudly advertising themselves and warning off rivals who might dare to enter their territory.

Fortunately for us, we had local bird watching expert and founder of the Wharfedale Wildlife Facebook Group (WWG), Darren Shepherd in attendance, ready and willing to offer us guidance and decipher the mass of sound that we were confronted by.

The walk took us through the wooded areas as well as the upper and lower paths, during which Darren was able to distill distinct bird varieties from the general din. He called out all manner of species, drawing attention to their unique songs and whistles. Darren carries a wealth of knowledge which he generously shared, answering our questions as we walked watching and listening to the nature.

First focusing on the “summer migrants”, Darren referred us to the songs of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Garden Warblers. We reflected on the mysteries of migration, and how many of these varieties would have set off from North Africa earlier in the year.


We then listened to “local residents”, Blackbirds, Wood Pigeon, Goldfinches, Dunnocks, Greenfinches, Blue Tits, Wrens and a small flock of Lesser Redpolls. The Wren impressed us with the volume of sound generated from such a tiny creature The time flew by and when we started to notice the earliest of the early morning dog walkers, we decided it was time to call it a day.

Lesser Redpoll

I can say with all honestly that it was a true pleasure to be out in the open so early, and in the company of a true expert. Breathing in the fresh Yorkshire morning air and being immersed in so much nature. The tea and toast on returning home was that bit more appetising that usual.

The next walk will be morning of 14th May 2021 meet at 05:10 !! There are a few places left if you are interested email: parkinsonspark@gmail.com

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  1. JoanneClarke2010 says:

    Really interesting.I used to hear Owls but haven’t perhaps for last couple of years ?JoSent from my Galaxy

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