Thursday, 25 June 2009

Marsh Warbler, RSPB Otmoor

Marsh warbler

“You timed it well,” said one of the watchers strung along the path.

Alle-bloody-lujah. At last, a twitch where I turned up just as the bird had started showing. It had been silent but now its song was clear and unmistakable. After fifteen years of trying to separate reed and sedge warblers by call, this one was a cinch. I still couldn't see the bird but a shape flitted in the depths of the bushes.

Suddenly, a little brown job flew out and across the path to disappear in the reeds opposite. It looked right for marsh warbler but really it went too fast for positive identification. The same song began again in the reeds. So, unless there were two birds taking turns... no, let's not even go there. I saw it.

I saw it again later on my way back from scoffing lunch further along the path. It made the reverse journey, almost as a curtain-call to the performance whose overture I had seen. My world life list was on the move again after three months of stalling.

HobbyThe visit had started well with whitethroats scritchy-scratching their song from bushes and wires and a hobby powering by overhead. Later, I had four of these magnificent birds of prey in the air at once. I think they're the most elegant of falcons. Both sedge and reed warblers lined my route to my ultimate quarry and on the way back a stonechat perched obligingly.

For the grand finale I had been told that a turtle dove was around the car park. I listened out and caught its soft trill but couldn't nail the source of it. I searched and persistence paid off when I spied the individual, quite plainly out in the open at the top of a tree, but much further away than I had thought.

A cracking day. And I even won another SNG when I got back.

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