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Sometimes field recording trips don’t go as planned. On the last weekend of February 2021 I went to bed on Saturday evening having prepared my recording gear and with my alarm set for 4am. I was planning to drive 2 hours east of Paris to a nature reserve to record the early spring dawn chorus. Somehow my alarm didn’t go off and when I woke up suddenly at 5am I realised I wouldn’t have time to drive to the nature reserve. Determined not to give up, I thought about locations that were closer to home and decided to drive to the Vexin Regional Natural Park, just 45 minutes from Paris.

I had been to this location the previous weekend for a family picnic and had made a mental note to return to record at dawn. I was surprised at just how quiet the location was considering how close it is to Paris. After the short drive I hiked to my recording spot and began setting up my equipment. A Song Thrush had begun it’s glorious song so I positioned my microphones facing it’s perch. Throughout the recording we also hear green woodpeckers (calling and drumming) as well as blackbirds, wood pigeons, crows, wren and great tits.

Spring is without doubt my favourite time of year, as trees, plants and flowers explode with colour and the spring dawn chorus can be heard each and every morning. I try to get out as often as possible throughout spring and early summer and love hearing the dawn chorus change with time as migratory birds arrive from Africa. No matter what time of spring it is, listening to the awakening forest is my own personal therapy and a wonderful moment of mindfulness.