Nightingale adventures

PUBLISHED: 20:10 16 March 2015 | UPDATED: 20:10 16 March 2015




Why not savour the song of the nightingale at our Fingringhoe Wick nature reserve this spring?

The Wick is one of the best places in the country to hear this iconic bird’s famous fanfare, with around 30-40 males to be heard singing at the same time on the reserve in late April and early May, both at dawn and dusk. The song of one nightingale is remarkable: a mix of trills, whistles, beats and gurgles, delivered with astonishing gusto at full volume, often building to a passionate crescendo. The sound of dozens singing together is astonishing.

Essex is a stronghold for the nightingale’s dwindling British population, which is largely confined to the south and east of England. The birds make perilous migrations to Africa and back, returning here in April and then departing again in late summer. Once they find a mate, they fall silent and, due to their skulking habits, can be incredibly difficult to detect — so the time to hear and see them is when they are on song, at their most obtrusive.

Essex Wildlife Trust’s team at Fingringhoe Wick can help you enjoy these fabulous birds each year through guided Nightingale Walks for the public at the Wick, to take advantage of the weeks when the birds are at the peak of their musical powers.

This year, a Family Nightingale Walk takes place on Saturday, April 25 (from 6pm to 7.30pm), aimed at children aged five to nine and accompanying adults, to begin the series of events. Our main Nightingale Walks begin the following day, on Sunday, April 26, and run daily, from 7.30pm to 9pm, until the final walk on Saturday, May 16.

These walks are extremely popular, so please do book in advance. Call 01206 729678 to book. A £5 donation per person recommended.

Fingringhoe Wick (CO5 7DN) is set in a spectacular position overlooking the Colne Estuary. There is a visitor centre with a gift shop and light refreshments, a viewing tower and observation room, as well as toilets and baby changing facilities. Out on the reserve you will find a picnic area, nature trails, benches and bird hides.

The diverse habitats on the reserve are a wildlife haven. They have attracted around 200 species of birds, numerous dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies, and up to 350 species of flowering plants.

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