I often wonder just where people travel from to visit Old Moor? Well, I can’t offer you any official statistics but one group visiting today signed in as ‘London and Enfield Bird Group’. Now that’s a fair distance!

Here’s the summary of sightings from the day…

It’s not hard to see why folks travel so far. Old Moor looks incredible in May; spring flowers are at their peak and the place is full of birds and birdsong!

Take Green Lane, the main pathway between The Family Hide and Wath Ings. Today, as an experiment, I wondered just how many different song birds I could hear on my walk down the lane. Could I find more than - say - ten singers?

The first, right beside the Family Hide, was a reed warbler and he was followed closely by a dunnock, a robin and, that familiar old crooner, a blackbird.

Number One - a reed warbler

Both willow warbler and chiffchaff were singing near Field Pool West and only a little way from them, the first of a pair of lesser whitethroats. These birds were, admittedly, mobile and flitted along the lane, always slightly ahead of the visitors.

Blackcap was the next to announce himself and by this point I guess I was roughly half-way along the lane. Then somewhere to my right (and below waist height) a wren exploded into song. How many is that so far?

I wasn't the only one listening to the male blackcap's song

The ‘triangle’ is a good place to pause on Green Lane. The path here branches towards the Wader Scrape Hide but the area ‘inside’ and bounded by the path is full of tall ‘song perches’ for warblers. Today a garden warbler chose this spot to sing and drew the attentions of many visitors, myself included.

With ten singers ‘under my belt’ and only a few yards left before Wath Ings, I thought that must be it - but no. Within feet of the door of the hide, the scratchy song of a sedge warbler was audible coming from the brambles to the left. With it, a common whitethroat also started up.

Number eleven - a sedge warbler

So there you have it, my completely unscientific middle-of-the-day experiment reveals twelve singers currently on Green Lane!

No wonder people are prepared to travel to get here.

Anonymous