Sunday 27 March 2011


Didn't take them long. The first got to Spain on 21 March and only four days later, on 25 March, we had the first report of a Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos) in Extremadura. This harbinger of spring turned up in Villanueva de la Vera. As usual it was Dave Langlois who enjoyed the privilege of hearing the first one. On the next day there were five birds in the same area and Nightingale was heard in Monfragüe (M. García del Rey), in Badajoz (J. C. Paniagua) and in Mérida (S. Fletcher).

No better way of celebrating the event than sharing in this blog the masterful message sent by Dave Langlois to the Goce birdwatching forum.

"The great soloist has arrived! Not for him the Blackbird's wimpy readiness to blend in his beauty with his peers or the lesser choristers. His style is standout or nothing, grabbing centre stage by voice alone. Eye-catching plumage he looks down on as a lowly ploy like plastic surgery, clutched at by those born without his divine right to rule by vocal prowess. Every single one of his phrases demands the attention of any living being who is not brain-dead. And if this one doesn't turn you on sunshine, he seems to say, try this one for size . . . or this one . . . or this one . . . or this one . . . because every one's different and there are plenty more where those came from. Listen! Marvel at the number of notes that can be packed into one second or the length of time a single note can be drawn out to. "I will show you fear in a handful of dust," said T.S. Eliot; well I'll show you bliss in a bunch of crochets.

Truth be told, this morning's Nightingale was still a bit travel weary. But be it known, he told me, that this is just a passing thing and in no way a slackening of his indomitable will power. Just give him a bit of time to shake off the dust of the road and then - pin back your ears! Two months of daily acoustic miracles await us, my friends. Are you up for it?" [by Dave Langlois]