Posts Tagged ‘Willow Warbler


A controversial warbler

So there we were, about a month ago now, stood with our backs arched starring into the canopy of the trees draping the Garrison on the Isles of Scilly. We were looking for the reported Arctic Warbler. Amid calls of ‘Here it is’, ‘it moved left’, ‘Yes it’s an Arctic!’ ‘That’s not an Arctic!’ and miscellaneous other contradicting information; it all got a bit confusing.

I regrouped the team on our tour and discussed with them what I thought we were looking at. Others may have been looking at something different. The following isn’t meant to be contentious just an honest judgement of the bird WE were watching. I’m sure there probably had been or even was an Arctic Warbler there … it’s just I didn’t see it.

The bird we saw and I photographed did not have tundra green upperparts like an Arctic Warbler it was greyer; nor did it have an endless supercillium, but it was prominent. It did however have silky white underparts, pale legs and a nicely coloured bill. I saw a suspicion of a wing-bar … but I think it was probably a Willow Warbler. What does the eastern race yakutensis look like?

2015 10 12 Willow Warbler The Garrison St Mary's Isles of Scilly_Z5A0860 2015 10 12 Willow Warbler The Garrison St Mary's Isles of Scilly_Z5A0890 2015 10 12 Willow Warbler The Garrison St Mary's Isles of Scilly_Z5A0893



A Content Day

As we drove back in very misty conditions from the Foundry Arms on Saturday night we were full of good food. I said to my mother in law “Conditions look good for a fall tomorrow” Having explained what that meant I think I managed to convey a picture of some good bird watching on the coast. I didn’t realise how good with some excellent classic fall species in terrific numbers.

A family day had been planned on the broads in a boat on the Sunday. I got up early and walked the hill. Whinchats and Wheatear were a plenty; even a Whimbrel had made landfall. In the reeds there was a mystery warbler. It just wouldn’t show in the time I had available. The few calls it did make were not enough to give it identity.

The trip on the boat was good. I even managed to see a Bittern and a handful of Marsh Harriers. Late afternoon Tony’s phone call gave me the news that he’s managed to put a name to the mystery warbler (if it was the same bird). He’d seen an Icterine. I was elated for him but it had done the dirty and disappeared.

When I got back home there was a Reed Warbler in the garden. I walked the fields. More birds still. Wheatears, Whinchat had all increased in number. Sedge, Reed and several Willow Warblers flitted around. A Peregrine parted the air and flushed a grunting Snipe but no sight or sound of an Icterine.

I had to be content with the Willow Warblers that played around me … like dancing children.

Willow Warbler


Phylloscopus delight

The cold spring winds managed to kill off a few of the garden plants and stunted the growth of several trees here at Falcon Cottage. At the top of the field there’s an area of gorse that too has succumbed on its eastern face.

In a brisk south westerly the other morning that side of the gorse was sheltered and in the bright sunshine one or two insects were coming out to play. Two Willow Warblers were making the most of the shelter and food on offer. Feeding up for their next leg of migration north they were totally oblivious to my presence as I crouched low. I waited for them to come my way. The subtlety of plumage tones on all of the Phylloscopus Warblers is very beautiful. What at first sight appear to be plain little brown jobs transform into a league of their own when bathed in a little sun.

Willow Warbler

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Mar 2023


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