The melodious nightingale provides the inspiration for a series of unique events in spring 2017


The nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos, is one of the most treasured of Britain's birds, loved for the rich tones, exceptional musicality and high volume of its territorial song. Yet until comparatively recently little has been known of the movements of these migratory birds once they leave our shores - coming here to breed in April and May - which is when the male birds sing to attract a mate - and then gone again by September . . .

Using geolocator technology, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) now track nightingales to their overwintering habitats in Africa and are able to trace the routes that the birds take to get there.

In April and May 2017, a series of unique events, Sam Lee's Singing with Nightingales, are going to be held at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire - owned by Anglian Water celebrating the arrival - and song - of the nightingale. Folk singer and nature lover Sam Lee has previously staged evening events in Sussex woodlands and, as well as the original Sussex site is now extending the destinations in 2017 to Cambridgeshire, Kent and Fingrinhoe Wick in Essex. A range of musicians, The Nest Collective, will perform at these various sites to commune with the evening songbirds.

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John Clare The Nightingale's Nest

Up this green woodland-ride let’s softly rove,
And list the nightingale - she dwells just here.
Hush! let the wood-gate softly clap, for fear
The noise might drive her from her home of love ;
For here I’ve heard her many a merry year -
At morn, at eve, nay, all the live-long day,
As though she lived on song.


The nest is made a hermit’s mossy cell.
Snug lie her curious eggs in number five,
Of deadened green, or rather olive brown ;
And the old prickly thorn-bush guards them well.
So here we’ll leave them, still unknown to wrong,
As the old woodland’s legacy of song.