Blogger: Erica Howe, Communications Officer
Who are the top songsters across the countryside?
The East is alive with songbirds belting it out all across the East. And with Eurovision nearly upon us, It’s time for us to celebrate the top songbirds in the region.
Presenting, from Suffolk, the RSPB Wolves Wood Reserve, which has a thriving population of singing nightingales. Nightingales in the UK declined by 57% between 1995 and 2009, but thanks to dedicated woodland management work, which includes blocking ditches to keep water on site, we are helping to have a positive effect. Warden, Mark Nowers says, “Ground-feeding birds like nightingales thrive in damp conditions. This year, there are eight nightingales singing in Wolves Wood, which is the most we have had on site since the start of the Millennium. Woodlands come alive in the spring with beautiful plants and bird song and it’s a privilege to hear nightingales back in these woods.”
Next up is the Broads, presenting the loudest booming bittern in the East. At RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, the recognisable call can be heard for miles.The bittern is an incredibly secretive bird and with less than 100 birds breeding in the whole UK, it is a rare sight. However, their loud booms are iconic and a sure-fire way of attracting a mate. At this time of year, bitterns are active and marking their territories with their calls.
The next regional star is the sedge warbler, found singing at RSPB Titchwell Marsh in Norfolk. The sedge warbler is the beat boxer of the bird world. Its song is made up of a variety of scratchy notes and is faster and louder than many of its rival songsters. Jaz Atkinson at Titchwell Marsh said: “These tiny creatures have arrived all the way from south of the Sahara, where they have travelled over 2000 miles to be here. No song is ever the same so they always give us a unique performance! They shuffle up a single reed stem, right to the top where they will deliver their erratic and hectic song. Sedge warblers can also do cover versions and imitate other wetland bird calls and songs!”
And finally, drum roll, presenting from Hertfordshire at the RSPB Rye Meads Nature Reserve is the Cetti’s warbler. This bird likes to be heard and not seen; they are tiny little creatures. The nature reserve now has 6 pairs singing to its visitors, a bird that was never previously heard in the area.
So whether you are a big Humperdink fan or have been turned off since the departure of Sir Terry - be inspired by the Eurovison Song Contest this Saturday and get outdoors and see who you can hear singing their little hearts out. To find out where you can go to hear these birds throughout May and June then visit www.rspb.org.uk/reserves
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