Sunday, 15 May 2016

Hidden Warblers

A quick walk around the patch yesterday started promisingly with maybe* four garden warblers singing in the aptly named Warbler Corner area of the patch. These birds must have dropped in during the week, a bit later than I expected and probably held up by the persistent adverse winds.

*I say 'maybe' as while I do try and be systematic, there is always the possibility that the birds get ahead of me and are counted twice!

The sun was bright, so I tried my luck again with the sand martins. In order to get the fast shutter speed required to capture them in flight, I have to either increase ISO (and degrade image quality) or open the aperture (decreasing depth of field) and the gloomier it is, the more of each I must do. I think I'm beginning to get the hang of it, but I've still not managed 'the shot' I have in mind.

In the North of the patch, a walk through the wood turned up marsh tit, common sandpiper, grey wagtail, jay and sparrowhawk; all lovely birds, but nothing new and so it remained for the day.

Today I set about photographing the garden warblers and dragged my hide and provisions to Warbler Corner. Hours passed and while they were very vocal and active, they remained high in the willows and out of frame. When they did come to eye level they were typically behind me! I will return with bait next time to see if I can encourage them to follow a regular route upon which they can be photographed. I gave up for the morning and decided to try the oxbow lake for new arrivals.

I'd barely walked 100 yards from where I'd been sat all morning when I heard a strange call coming from dense shrubs alongside the flooded wood. I couldn't put my finger on what it was... it was showing the range of blackcap or garden warbler, but was singing much more slowly and with a more baritone voice. The warbler refused to show itself so vexed, I asked Nick to come and help me identify it.

No sooner had I dropped Nick a message, the bird began to sing in full; speeding up and singing loudly. It was a reed warbler! Such a familiar sound when walking through wetlands, but completely alien when out of context here... there are no reeds for a mile in any direction! That was my hundredth species this year and a new one for Thrintoft so I was delighted. Nick turned up and we listened to it for a while, but frustratingly it would not break cover to have its picture taken.

I returned earlier this evening and it was still present, but again remained shy and out of sight.


  1. You got some cracking shots of the Sand Martins even if they weren't quite what you have in mind :)

    The warblers do get a little frustrating with their knack of just being out of sight!

  2. Thank you, Pam! It gets harder and harder as the trees come into leaf!