Songs to remember!

Dawn Chorus, Nightingales and a surprise Willow Warbler

13 group members, including nine making their Froize debuts, met up with Steve Piotrowski and me for coffee at The Froize at the respectably early hour of 7am. The local roads were wet due to the overnight rain but, as predicted, the sandy footpath which we took to the south of The Froize was dry.

We pottered as far as the reedbed, making plenty of stops. The main objective was to enjoy listening to the great variety of bird song along the way, and for everyone to pick out at least three songs which they would try to remember! Steve gave a number of tips to help with this, whilst I played the sounds on the Collins Bird Guide App to give the group assistance as to which particular sound we were focusing on.

Some songs, such as the Skylark, were already familiar to most. Others, such as the onomatopoeic Chiffchaff, were relatively straightforward to learn. We spent a while on three Sylvia warblers, the Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat; fortunately, we had multiple opportunities to listen to each.

A surprise was finding a Willow Warbler; this species used to be the ‘sound of summer’ but climate change has meant a population increase in cooler northern areas at the expense of the south and east. Our bird was obliging, allowing everyone the chance to see it through the telescope. We heard Reed Warblers quietly chiming away close by, as well as the explosive song of the Cetti’s Warbler.

It wasn’t all about the sounds. We had wonderful views of a male Marsh Harrier as well as two sparring drake Shelducks. A Swallow on the wire was admired, and shortly before our 9am arrival back at The Froize we picked out a couple of House Martins. We had seen and heard 40 species between us, prompting much discussion at the end of a highly productive and enjoyable couple of hours.

By now it was 9.00 am and we were ready for the veritable smorgasbord of a breakfast that awaited our return. A spread fit for our new king – with cowslip yellow local free-range scrambled eggs, truffled eggs, warming, spicy Shakshuka, local bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh asparagus from the Froize HQ allotments, fried potatoes and even a ‘fried-slice’ pre requested by one hungry soul! Mountains of warm toast, butter, and marmalade… all washed down with fresh coffee, tea and fruit juices. Mmmmm! That was worth getting up early for!

At 10am we headed off in convoy for Bromeswell Green nature reserve. Five singing male Nightingales have taken up residence this year and, after a short search, we found one sitting up. It was very obliging indeed, allowing everyone the chance to see, as well as hear, this iconic species; a truly magical experience for everyone. I found it hard to believe we had been quite so fortunate! As supporting cast, we heard a Cuckoo and watched a male Reed Bunting singing on the opposite side of the Deben, and also added Little Egret and Greylag Goose to our list.

We popped in at Tunstall Common on our way back, hearing Coal Tits in the pines, before returning to The Froize at 11.45am.

The fresh air and gentle walk had re kindled our hunger…. And there, once back at Froize HQ – we were treated to panna cotta’s, crème brulé’s and the most decadent of rich chocolate pots topped with raspberry coulis. A fitting way to round off a most splendid day. 

Before we went our separate ways, Steve and I flagged up two forthcoming events at The Froize – ‘Listening out for midsummer songsters’ on 8 June, then ‘Nightjars and other night dwellers’ a fortnight later. Full details on the Froize website We also encouraged everyone to consider joining the Suffolk Bird Group

David Walsh

Guest Blogger

Birds Seen and Heard





Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)


Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)


Common House Martin (Delichon urbicum)

Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)


Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)

Stock Dove (Columba oenas)


Common Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita)

Common Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)


Cetti’s Warbler (Cettia cetti)

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)


Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Eurasian Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus)


Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus)


Garden Warbler (Sylvia borin)

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)


Common Whitethroat (Curruca communis)

Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)


Eurasian Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris)

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)


Eurasian Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)


Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula)

Eurasian Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)


European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Common Magpie (Pica pica)


Dunnock (Prunella modularis)

Eurasian Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)


House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Carrion Crow (Corvus corone)


Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)


Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Great Tit (Parus major)


European Greenfinch (Chloris chloris)

Eurasian Skylark (Alauda arvensis)


European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Common Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)


Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)


BROMESWELL (Additional species)


Greylag Goose (Anser anser)


Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos)

Common Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)


Common Reed Bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)


TUNSTALL COMMON (Additional species)


Coal Tit (Periparus ater)