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Get Up With The Lark

Tuesday, 20th April 2010

The dawn chorus occurs because as winter retreats, male songbirds sing to attract potential females, protect their territory and to warn off other males. However, as soon as it is light enough to look for food, the dawn chorus comes to a close which is why you have to be an ‘early bird’ to hear it.

International Dawn Chorus Day falls on Sunday 2 May 2010.  Originally conceived by The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and Black Country, International Dawn Chorus Day is an annual celebration of the world’s oldest wake-up call – the dawn chorus – and the beauty of bird song.  A number of guided walks take place throughout the country on, and around, International Dawn Chorus Day.  More information on these events can be found on the website www.idcd.info

There is a choice of dawn chorus walks in The National Forest.  Enjoy the beautiful grounds of Calke Abbey for their Dawn Chorus Walk on Saturday 8 May and Sunday 9 May from 4:30am. Visitors are invited to hear the choir of songbirds with the Head Warden, followed by a full cooked breakfast. Booking is essential by calling 01332 863822, emailing calkeabbey@nationaltrust.org.uk or logging on to the website, nationaltrust.org.uk

Rosliston Forestry Centre will be hosting its Dawn Chorus Walk on Saturday 1 May from 5am.  Visitors will experience the dawn breaking over the site, find out which birds are out and about and learn to pick out their individual songs with the help of Dave Scattergood, a local expert.  The cost of event is £7 per person and includes a hot drink and snack in the restaurant on site at 7am.

Two weeks later visitors can return to Rosliston to experience birdsong at the end of the day with the Dusk Chorus Walk on Saturday 15 May from 8pm.  Walking around the woodland, Dave Scattergood will highlight the different birds and explain the reasons for their final songs of the day!  The cost is £2 per person.

Warm clothing and sturdy footwear is needed on both of the walks and visitors need to book by contacting the Environmental Education Project at Rosliston Forestry Centre on 01283 535039.

But for those who want to make up their own dawn chorus walk The National Forest offers more than 700 miles of paths to explore in over 400 woodlands.  The National Forest spans 200 square miles across parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire and is one of England’s most ambitious environmental projects – to create a new forest for the nation.  Already over seven million trees have been planted across the gently undulating landscape, which is perfect for walking, cycling and horse-riding.  And through the creation of new habitats, The National Forest is an ideal location for bird and wildlife watching.

For more information on attractions, activities, events and places to stay in and around The National Forest, the 2010 visitor guides to the Forest and Beyond are bursting with great ideas.  These are available from Tourist Information Centres or from the National Forest Company on tel: 01283 551211, email: discover@nationalforest.org.