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In early Spring 2017 I headed to the Regional Natural Park of Le Perche, one of France’s 51 protected regional natural parks, for a weekend of unspoiled nature recording. I was based in a gorgeous wood cabin on the edge of the Senonches Forest, which is part of the 182,000 hectares Le Perche. Formed mainly by oaks and beech trees and home to an abundant range of wildlife, it was a great location that gave me easy and quick access to the heart of the forest.

One of my goals of this weekend was to record the dawn chorus in the forest. Sunrise was just before 6 am but I hadn’t had much time to scope out the area so I woke up at 4.30 am and was on my way 15 minutes later. This gave me plenty of time to find a suitable spot, setup my gear and settle down before the dawn chorus kicked in. As a general rule I always try to setup my equipment in advance. When we enter a natural habitat such as a forest our presence can disturb the local wildlife putting them on “alert mode” and they take some time before returning to their usual behaviour patterns. So when I setup my gear, I do so as quickly and as quietly as possible, then find an area away from the mics and sit back quietly.

The first birds started singing at around 5.45 am and by 6am the dawn chorus was in full swing. The forest had an amazing natural reverb to it and was full of life, making this one of the most spectacular dawn choruses I have recorded to date. As well as the birds that were located close to where I had set my mics, we also hear a distant Cock Pheasant and an Osprey.

Le Perch is a beautiful part of France, full of history and with a very well preserved natural habitat. In the next post I’ll share a dusk chorus recording from the same location.