Wednesday, 2 May 2012


Last Friday myself and Keith went to Paxton Pits in Cambridgeshire in search of Nightingales.

Following the trend of the last few weeks it was raining steadily as we arrived at around 6am, after a quick cup of coffee (thanks Keith) we got togged up and set off in search of our target bird the  Nightingale (luscinia megarhynchos),  after walking for about 200yards we heard the unmistakable sound of a singing Nightingale coming from a stand of thick bushes and trees.

 On moving closer we managed to get a better "fix" on where  exactly the singing was coming from, but it still took the best part of 20 minutes of standing patiently waiting, eyes straining to see into the darkness of the bushes, before he finally popped up onto a higher branch and gave us a clear view whilst continuing to sing his beautiful song. Magic!... our target bird seen and heard in less than 45 minutes and 200yards from the car.

On the one hand I was quite pleased that we had seen and heard a Nightingale (even more pleasing as it was my Birthday!) but on the other hand I was rather disappointed that due to the rain and low light getting a decent photograph was not easy, high ISO resulting in lots of "noise" on the images.

However we had a good, if rather wet, day out and saw a great variety of birds, 44 species recorded, and along with my first Nightingale of the year I also saw my first Swift of the year.

My best image of the day....

After weeks of rain and the disappointment of not  getting a decent photograph I was pleased to see that for Monday the weather man was predicting a day of sunshine and blue skies so, my mind was made up, it was back to Paxton Pits first thing on Monday morning!

After a weekend of torrential rain, gusting wind and cold temperatures Monday, true to the weather man's words, dawned bright and sunny.
On arriving at the reserve I was struck by the eerie silence, just a few singing birds and apart from the odd Black-Headed Gull  very few in the air, I put it down to the fact that they had been overwhelmed by the atrocious weekend weather and had not yet recovered. 

In the same location as before a Nightingale was half heartedly singing from deep in the bushes (not a patch on Fridays performance!). Perhaps this wasn't going to be such a good day after all?

After about an hour's walking through the mud and areas of standing water, the River Great Ouse which runs along the side of the reserve was running very fast and high and had broken it's banks in several places, I heard  the sound that I'd been waiting for and, after a ten minute wait, up into the sunshine popped a singing Nightingale!

 At last I managed to get a half decent photograph.

 And a short video....

And the Nightingale sang.....just for me!.....I'm glad I went back!