Will nightingales sing in Booker square?

That’s a good question.  I have volunteered for the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) nightingale survey and my ‘square’ at Booker, High Wycombe, Bucks, is the tetrad (two kilometre square) which BTO has allocated to me.  Today I did a recce.

This looks a good nightingale habitat

The chances of hearing, let alone seeing, a nightingale must be slim.  The tetrad is blessed with the M40 running across it, the Booker aerodrome bang in the middle, High Heavens municipal dump on the south side, and a clay-pigeon shoot on the west.

Flying ground

Shooting ground

But in between and surrounding these is some woodland and scrub which may be eligible habitat.

Hillgreen Wood, possible habitat?

I am required, between 21 April and 14 May, to make two daytime visits to all suitable habitat in the tetrad (eg dense undergrowth, scrub, bramble, coppice, dense hedgerow), between first light and 8.30am, recording any singing males or nightingales I see.  If I do see or hear any, I must then make two nocturnal visits to those spots, after 18 May.  I have only once heard a nightingale, on 6 May 2010 on the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Ebernoe Common in West Sussex, and it was a magic moment. I hope for more such moments.

Fortunately most of the woods in my tetrad have open access and it was a delight to see the welcoming sign at Hillgreen Wood.

Nice to be welcomed into a wood

However, it was not a delight to see that a footpath, Great Marlow 61, which runs across a field to the M40, was illegally cropped with mustard.  I immediately reported this to Bucks County Council.

Illegally blocked footpath, Great Marlow 61

I shall let you know if I do find any nightingales singing in my Booker square.

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About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Birds, Bucks, Uncategorized, walking, Woods and forests and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Will nightingales sing in Booker square?

  1. Well I did my first survey of the square this morning, starting at 5.30 am (I’d have done it sooner but the weather prevented it). Sadly no nightingales were singing in Booker square this morning. I have to return in about a week for another try.

    • But I should have mentioned that footpath 61 above has now been cleared of crop, and there is a wide swathe through the oil-seed rape. However, the farmer has not left a good surface, there are stalks sticking up which make the going rough. So 5 out of 10 so far and I’ll be going back to Bucks County Council about that.

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