Tag Archives: Nightingale

2017 dawn chorus walking 700

Were there more people than birds at the 2017 Hillhouse Wood Dawn chorus walk?

It can’t be often that Hall Road is the busiest place in West Bergholt.  But at 03.40 on Sunday 7 May I would be fairly confident that this was the case, as seemingly floods of cars arrived for this year’s Dawn Chorus walk.  That is certainly what it felt like!

And so 24 of us assembled in the pitch dark, with most of us wondering quite what they had let themselves in for, and me wondering why on earth I volunteered to get up at such an appalling time each year. Continue reading

The 2016 Hillhouse Wood Dawn Chorus walk – a year of ‘firsts’, which was literally ‘gatecrashed’ by an unexpected beast

Over the last few years the Friends has developed a slick and effective ability to publicise our activities, particularly the guided walks.  So it was another ‘first’ when the publicity for the Dawn Chorus walk, err, didn’t happen.  In an organisation with the scale, complexity and dynamism of the Friends there is always the risk that inter-departmental communication may go awry. And so it appears that our Outreach and Publicity Division were not made aware of the date of this walk – according to its Global Vice President of Communications.  Our Operations and Delivery Division had forgotten to tell them! Maybe we need a new ‘cloud based’ technology platform? One for the next committee meeting!

So, exhibiting impressive fleetness of foot and responsiveness (for an organisation of our size) we used our stand at the church, the previous afternoon, to tell passing visitors to the wood about the Dawn Chorus walk.  And so nine people (plus a well behaved collie) turned up – not the largest group, but very pleasing in the circumstances and, actually, better for bird listening than larger groups. Continue reading

A record ‘tally’ for the 2016 wild flower walk in Hillhouse wood

Each Spring the Friends of Hillhouse Wood organise two guided walks – one to look at the Bluebells, and a Dawn Chorus one.  These are normally 2-3 weeks apart, to match each one to when its subjects are at their best.  However this year things were different, and for the first time ever we ran both walks on the same weekend. Continue reading

The 2016 Friends of Hillhouse Wood winter bird walk – plenty of birds, albeit absent ones!

The morning of Saturday 27 February was cold, dank and a bit dismal – not at all inviting.  So naturally 15 people turned out for the 2016 Winter Birds guided walk in Hillhouse Wood, West Bergholt.  This was the largest number that I can recall for this walk.  It is one of the most variable of the ones I lead, both in terms of what we see and how many attend.  One year there was just two of us.  I was glad to see that Linda Firmin, Jo’s widow, had turned up, as if there is anything to see she will spot it.

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I lead the 2015 Hillhouse Wood Dawn Chorus Walk – and someone turns up!

16th May was that dreaded time of year when the alarm goes off at 3.20 am. Actually I’m coming to the conclusion that the worst part of the experience is when you set the alarm for 3.20, knowing that it will go off in barely 4 hours time. This year it was immediately noticeable that the sky was not totally dark, indicating an absence of any cloud. A good start.

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A Spring nature walk in Hillhouse wood – I seem to have got away with another one

On Saturday I led another nature walk around Hillhouse wood.  At least with most of the ‘action’ centring on flowers I knew that there would be something to see – they can’t run, slither, swim or fly away.  Continue reading

Track a Tree visit 4 – in which I shamelessly trick my daughter into doing the work

After a day spent checking the database we’re using for the Android version of the Naturetale app I was ready to start crawling up walls – which isn’t easy when you’ve turned your brain to scrambled mincemeat.  Despite the gloomy and threatening clouds some fresh air was called for.  Although it was only five days since my last Track a tree field visit, the way spring is springing at the moment provided a perfect excuse to get out.  Who knows – the Nightingales might be early. Continue reading