If you follow Chris Packham, you may know that a pop-up conservation event is planned for Berkeley Square on the evening of 9th May. Its purpose is to celebrate the immortal nightingale and raise awareness about its increasing scarcity in the UK. The song to be heard in London will, sadly, be a recording.
We too have a recording taken a few days ago! And happily in Glossa you can guarantee that when you venture not far out of the village into the countryside, you will be sure to hear the nightingale’s glorious song in April and May. Morning, evening or night doesn’t seem to matter; the male nightingale is tireless when impressing his mate and protecting his territory.
We’ve noticed that more often than not, the song can be heard on a sharp bend in the road or track. Why is this? Not, we feel sure, for the inquisitive creature to keep an eye on the comings and goings of any human traffic! The fact is that in hilly terrain like that of the whole of Skopelos island, tracks tend to follow the contour lines of the hills which they skirt. And thus when the track reaches the point where a stream cuts through the hillside, the road, complete with little bridge, takes a sharp turn to follow the contour. It follows that hairpin bends are usually in a damp place, often with running water, and so are the trees that thrive best is such a terrain, like the sweet chestnut and plane trees that dot the island.
Whether the bird likes those particular trees, or just the damp environment, we don’t know. There’s another possibility too: given that one of the song’s defining features is that it is very loud, could the lie of the land in these places act as a sort of natural amplifier in the way that an amphitheatre does? Perhaps we need a naturalist to come and study this intriguing problem.