Dawn Chorus/Sunrise walk
Rise with the birds
Are you an early riser? No? Me neither. In truth, that is partly why a dawn chorus or sunrise walk is the most enjoyable and rewarding way to start the day – I’m like a fish out of water at that time of day…. but a very happy fish.
This is a brilliant mini-adventure because on week days we’re up early anyway for work and school. By setting the alarm clock an hour or two earlier, you give yourself more time to get out and have an adventure. My children always say that they feel more energised for the day having been out in the fresh air before school starts. This lasts right through until the evening when they suddenly crash and fall straight asleep – bonus!
- The evening before your walk, check the weather and check the time of the sunrise. You can do this on any weather app or website. You might want to wait for a morning with clear skies as a rainy, wet sunrise will be hidden behind the clouds and I don’t think you’d thank me for encouraging you to sit in a dark, wet field at 5am.
- Search a map or google maps for a spot ideally not too far away from home with good Easterly views. A hilltop is always best for the sunrise.
- Aim to arrive at your destination at least 25 minutes before the sunrise time, this way you can be in position to watch the sky change colour.
- Get your kit ready the evening before so you can just grab it and head out the door
- Waterproofs in case of wet weather or dewy grass. You will most likely want to sit down so waterproof trousers are great for damper mornings. A waterproof sheet is good to sit on.
- Warm layers – any time of year. This is England after all.
- Hot chocolate/Coffee. A thermos of hot choc or coffee is pretty much essential to warm everyone up and give a little energy booster.
- Head torch/torch for the start of the walk when it’s still dark. If the moon is out, try turning off your torch and letting your eyes adjust
This is a great family activity year-round.
In winter, the sunrise is later and you can often wrap up warm over school uniform, take some hot chocolate and go to watch the sunrise on the way to school/work. In my mind, winter sunrises on a clear, crisp morning are the best in the world.
Summer mornings are warmer and you’re more likely to get a clear sunrise sky…. but the sunrise is early!
In Autumn, the sunrise is getting later again and the Autumn colours are surely the best of the year? Make it a weekend trip, hike up a hill to get a good Easterly vantage point to enjoy a leisurely sunrise. Maybe you could take breakfast to cook?
I have left Spring until last because it’s surely the best? Clearer skies, warmer weather, and trees, plants and wildlife blooming makes everyone happier! You may need to get up earlier than you’d like but, for this you’ll be rewarded not only with the beautiful sunrise but also the incredible sounds of the dawn chorus. A truly amazing spectacle.