After some unpromising evenings earlier in the week, Thursday evening was clear for the 20 or so guests of the Safari Britain camp.
As we arrived, the ongoing influx of Painted Ladies was still in evidence, and a few of the regular warblers (Whitethroat, Chiffchaff), Blackbirds and Robins sang around the campsite.
Then we enjoyed a fine meal cooked by Dan and Kim, a spontaneous rendition of ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ and three wonderful songs from folk singer Sam Lee (who included a rarely-heard Copper Family song, ‘Lemony’).
We were all having too good a time, and left the campsite later than planned for our rendervous with the nightingales. Eventually regrouping at Arlington village at 10.10, we headed from the Yew Tree to the church and into the fields behind, where an obliging Nightingale was in full song on the other side of the meadow.
It performed well as we approached, with at least two other birds singing a little further to the south east. At least one, and often two birds, were heard continuously for the next 45 minutes.
Given that Cuckoo was among the birds added to the Red List of threatened species announced earlier in the day, it was a nice surprise to hear one in the dark – a loud one-off call from a bird that I don’t recall hearing at night before.
A frog chorus, a far-off Tawny Owl or two and an unidentified wader overhead (probably a plover) all added to the atmosphere, as did one participant’s knowledge of the night sky.
A wonderful evening – thanks to all who made it happen.
*UPDATE* Here’s a recording of one of the Arlington nightingales, recorded the following Monday night.