Making music with the Nightingales at Fingringhoe Wick

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We took CLIP, Firstsite’s young peoples experimental music ensemble, to Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve for an improv jam with their noisy Nightingales.

With the Nightingales approaching the end of their breeding season, each evening the males bust into song as they attempt to attract the attention of the females. This visit is part of our ‘The Year’ project where were documenting the changes at The Wick through a variety of art forms and encouraging young people to respond to the outdoors.

Making Music with the Nightingales at Fingringhoe wick from Signals on Vimeo.

Nightingales Breeding Season

From the end of April to the beginning of May, Essex Wildlife Trust run these Nightingale Walks which are billed as “one of Essex’s great wildlife events“. There are approximately 30 – 40 singing males each year and their song fills the air as they vie for the attention of the females. These male birds sing for hours on end each night during the breeding season. The females select mates based on the quality of this musical performance. Older males have improved mating success due to their larger song repertoire, which can consist of an astonishing 260 variations.

The Nightingale is small, secretive bird who’s diet is based on the fruit, seeds and insects. It is rarely seen in the wild because it spends most of its time in the thick bushes, so they’re much easier to hear than see – especially at dusk! Their natural enemies are rats, foxes, cats, lizards, snakes and large predatory birds – most of which feature at The Wick.

Who are CLIP?

The film above shows a short segment from our evening at The Wick, you can hear some more of the groups improvisations on the playlist below.

CLIP is a music group who explore the boundary between sound and music. They make contemporary music accessible by exploring avant garde ideas through fun and interactive experiments and performances. Improvisation is key to what they do, using the power of collaboration to boost confidence, empathy, self-awareness and creativity. In the past they’ve put a string quartet through guitar pedals, hosted an open call for human and animal duets and we’ve sampled the inhabitants of Colchester Zoo to compose a song for elephants (all under 200hz).

Get involved!

Over the next 12 months we’ll be running a variety of projects for young people at Fingringhoe Wick Nature Reserve, exploring some of the stories from Essex Wildlife’s oldest nature reserve through photography, filmmaking, animation, video games and more! Click the button above to join and mailing list and be the first to hear when we have opportunities to get involved.

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