Nightingale singing at Blean Woods, Kent, Monday 6th May 2013

First time I’ve heard this iconic and declining bird. Listen for the machine gun fire of drips and drops. Also the ‘whee-whee-wheeee’ wheezy call. There are a few warblers in the background which might confuse things.

The habitat you can see is coppiced birch trees with a few maturing sessile oaks in the background. Birch trees can be cut right down to the base on a cycle of between 7-12 years or so and they will grow back vigorously. This creates the dense vegetation that the naturally elusive – to the eyes – nightingale depends on to breed. Blean also holds one of England’s few colonies of heath fritillary butterfly which will benefit from the sunlight reaped by coppicing.

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