AN expert on Britain’s birdlife is looking forward to sharing his in-depth knowledge of the dawn chorus.
Ecologist Jeff Clarke will be at Chester Zoo this spring encouraging other bird-lovers to join him as he tunes in to the morning melody as part of the Bloom festival.
“It will be stunning, enchanting, I know it for sure,” said Jeff, who is one of an numerous wildlife experts lined up to share their knowledge with the public.
On Bank Holiday Monday, May 5, Jeff will be leading a Dawn Chorus Walk around the zoo grounds before the rest of the world wakes up.
He will point out the varying vocal distinctions between native and migrant birds.
The early morning event is included in a packed programme of activities Chester Zoo has lined up for the Bloom festival, a celebration of birds, gardens and native UK wildlife, which also coincides with the opening of the zoo’s new wildlife reserve.
Jeff, who has been involved with environmental education for more than 26 years, is a familiar face at Chester Zoo, where he has given talks and workshops.
Jeff added: “It will be the perfect time of year to hear all the native garden birds we have here in Britain, singing alongside those that migrate to our shores from abroad each year.
“Many people simply don’t take time out to listen to the dawn chorus but when you do there is nothing else like it in the world.
“I never fail to be impressed by the sheer exuberance of all the birds singing together at once. It’s breath-taking.”
He will be at the zoo before the sun rises, at 4.45am.
“People often don’t realise that the birds start to sing before light.
“The performance reaches a crescendo when the sun has risen, but the build-up to it happens over the hours before that so it is important to get out as early as possible to listen to the full chorus,” said Jeff, who leads wildlife tours at home and abroad, and writes about wildlife.
He lives in Warrington with his wife Adele, who works for Halton local authority and they have a 21-year old daughter, Rebecca.
l Jeff Clarke’s Dawn Chorus Walk is at Chester Zoo on Bank Holiday Monday, May 5. The fee is £20.
The tour starts at 4.45am, finishing with breakfast at 7am. For further information visit online at: www.chesterzoo.org/must-sees/bloom