Having had no luck in finding nightingales in my Booker square, I was pleased to see on the Bucks Bird blog that there had for many days been a nightingale singing near Bledlow, and the blog gave an idea of how to find him.
So on 12 May at about 5pm, I set off as instructed across the field of oilseed rape to the railway line, and then to the damp corner opposite the cricket pitch. It was hardly a ‘melodious plot of beechen green’, but a rough, scrubby area, where the steam train chuffs between Chinnor and Princes Risborough.
When I was there, not only was the steam train passing to and fro but there was a cricket match. Not, I thought, the best conditions for hearing a nightingale.
A song thrush was calling repetitively in a nightingale-like way, making me wonder if there’d been some mistake, but I should have had more faith in the Bucks Bird blog. For after a while there was a sudden, loud burst of song which was clearly a nightingale. He sang on and on; perhaps the thrush had heard him so often it was mimicking him. Then the nightingale came out of the scrub and onto the bush and I had a wonderful sighting for many minutes.
When at last he stopped singing I crept away. Shortly after the train came back again, covering the nightingale’s patch with steam. But I guess he doesn’t mind.
This will go down as one of my most memorable bird experiences. I have only once before heard a nightingale and was thrilled to find one so close to home in Bucks. He may not be singing in my Booker square, but he’s certainly singing in Bledlow square.