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5 September 2013
What I should have done...
... was take a feckin' picture. Two and a half kilos of useless technology round my neck and I opt for the close approach. Needless to say I didn't get much further and the bird, our potential Barred Warbler hoofs it into the broom beyond its preening post. No doubt in my mind its the bird I saw last week, again in the company of Whitehroat, and I am beginning to think it might be the large grey whitethroat I had to the west end of Long Wood, some time ago. So the chances are it will stay a bit longer and someone may catch up with it. Marco was with me this time, and although a bit further back, and with less powerful optics, he could see most of what I was getting. Big, grey, a stout beak, grey of the back extending on to the head with some white marks over the eye, and a white face. I could see feint markings on the throat, but these could have been the breeze, or damp feathers or spotting or barring. The tail was down so no help seeing the undertail coverts. the wings too were dark, not russet and marked like the smaller whitethroat with it, but again I didn't notice any of the fringing on the tertials. Too far off. I guess I was at the same distance as last week's bird. While the Whitethroat barely moved the stems they were on, this brute was bending his twig.
We stood and waited on the off chance it would re-appear, more in hope than expectation. Some movement and a bit of sub-song, probably of a sylvid, but a big migrant warbler no show. We decided to put it out, but in terms that though we (or more perhaps I) were confident, it was still as yet unconfirmed. I mean it's not as if its going to be a great spectacle, unless we can pin it down to a few solitary elders. Stuart tried later to search for it and found nothing, which comes as no surprise, in this instance there is too much cover.
Amazingly it was in the exact same tree as the Nightingale a coupe of days previously, and doing just about the same thing: getting the dew out of its feathers. Chances are it will be foggy again tomorrow, so just need to be in front of the right tree when the sun finally decides to break through. Easy!
It all boils down to luck. I had just about given up on the day, but the the mist cleared so rapidly I decided on a coffee instead. Now I need just one more bit of luck.
The Prof kindly sent me a slection of pictures: "Did it look like this?"
What followed was a page from Google images of Ruppell's and one particular female.
"not a bad likeness", I replied
"That's disturbing as the pic is of Ruppell's Warbler!!!"
The head of RW was much darker though and the beak much weaker, and the RW is a much smaller bird than we were looking at. I think he might need it for London.
So a job half done. We've known for years there is potential for a "big" warbler at this time of the year. Now we've got to nail it.
And if it could be as helpful as the following, that would be quite satisfactory.