This part of Sussex is a great location for Nightingales and every year we get a number of males establishing territories along the old railway track that runs through the Secret Campsite.

Nightingales love to nest in a patch of thick cover with lots of brambles to offer protection against predators and this compliments their rather secret and furtive nature. They are a drab looking bird,  slightly larger than a robin and are incredibly easy to miss when you’re wandering along the railway track in search of them. Particularly if you are talking to much.

The males establish their inhospitable looking territory and what follows is their piece de resistance As night draws in they start to sing.

The tune that they create is a magnificent array of sounds, warbles and shrill chirps so various and broad in its range that they are difficult to mix up with any other bird, despite their humble and dowdy appearance. Mind you if you need to impress the females and you look like that, you would need to do something pretty dramatic, so they do. Listen to the tune by clicking on the link above and pressing play on the audio recording, it is a wonderful sound.

Last night my friend Cliff and I wandered over to the camping meadow with a can of cider in hand, then ventured along the railway track to see if we could see or hear the early arrivals.


We then walked through Knowlands Woods and listened to a series of strange noises and eerie calls.

Back along the track… nothing.

This morning I got a text from Cliff who was listening to one singing outside his bedroom window at 7 this morning. We live next door to the campsite and last week I thought I had heard one confidently announcing his arrival in Sussex at the Secret Campsite, a popular final destination

If you would like to listen to this increasingly rare bird in the UK you will get to hear it best at night, when it performs its sanguine repertoire in the hope it will attract a mate who he can share his little patch of brambles with.

This approach didn’t work very well for me until I moved house.

The pictures are relatively useless as i can’t seem to spot the bird even though i can hear him chirping away

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1 Comment

  1. They are there right now! Didn't camp but walked into the woods late last night and found one, down the old railway track to the right. Sat and listened for almost two hours. Mesmerising!

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