Posts Tagged ‘Dartford Warbler



We had a great tour down to Minsmere last weekend with excellent sightings of Hen Harrier, Lesser Yellowlegs, Bittern, Bearded Tit at point blank range, displaying Great crested Grebes, Great White Egret, a couple of Whooper Swans, a pair of absolutely pristine Pintails and Mediterranean Gulls and more Dartford Warblers than I’ve ever seen in a single day.

Wrap all that lot up, and more, with the good company of my guests and it made for an excellent day.


I’m a fan

I’ve always been a fan of the Dartford Warbler. An iconic species that is represented in Norfolk by possibly the most Northerly population in the world.

We waited for around an hour in a cold wind for one to show last week. I know it was there as I’d heard it chuntering from inside the gorse. This is a species that shows on it’s own terms. However, I could see the blue sky on the horizon slowly working it’s way towards us. A little sunshine always helps to procure a sighting and sure enough he eventually sat atop his thorny perch; even fanning his tail for us.


Darting About

The Dartford Warblers in North Norfolk are having a tough time. I’ve not seen one on the heath this year. Going back a few years I had a maximum of around seven. Now, it appears there’s just a single elusive male remaining. I’m not sure why there’s been such a decline as a couple of mild winters should have enabled them to survive. I guess it’s important to remember they are at the edge of their range so numbers will naturally wax and wane.

We were looking for Woodlark and I was spreading the net a little wider than I would normally do last week. Still on the coast we went up to site I don’t often visit. No Woodlark there but the quiet subsong of a Dartford caught my ear. A few enquiries and apparently it’s been present around 13 months.

The species did breed last year in the East of the county. Hopefully they will do so again this year and the two other remaining males in North Norfolk will manage to attract females and we’ll have a few colonies that will maintain the presence of what are believed to be the most Northerly birds in Europe.


Darting about in the bushes

We went to see the somewhat elusive Dartford Warbler occupying the dune bushes at Holkham last week; and had more success than some others!



Dartford Warblers appear to have had a decent winter. Good numbers on the heath. This male flitted past us the other week but was gone before I could get a decent shot.

Dartford Warbler


The Jurassic Coast


The early morning sun backlit the bracken and gorse revealing the silver threads of spiders webs. I was in Dorset overlooking the expanse of Poole Harbour doing a bit of investigation for our tour next year to the Jurassic Coast. Having walked a little too far I rested on a mound of soft green moss. A Spotted Flycatcher had come down from the trees and was making the most of the insect life on the edge of the heath. As I watched it fly catching I heard a Dartford Warbler’s raping call close by. I waited. Curiosity getting the better of it the bird soon revealed itself atop the gorse almost too close for the camera.


Dartford Warbler


Showing Well

Some birds are secretive; crepuscular in nature. Just occasionally however they can break their habits.

There are a few Dartford Warblers that are resident in Norfolk. Dartford Warblers occupy areas of gorse and thick heather; staying low and usually out of sight, as a consequence they are never easy to see well. On a tour last week however, a nice wine coloured male gave us an excellent extensive showing. He even came close enough to enable us to take a few shots before he flew away across the heath.

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Feb 2023


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