Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Where Have I Been?

Obviously, like many other birding bloggers I've been up to Wales to look at the Mamora's Warbler, but unlike them I haven't got the photos to prove it! We went on Saturday morning arriving at about 7.00am. Incredibly for a moorland location it was already really warm with no wind and heat haze was a problem from the word go. It wouldn't have been if  the bird had settled down for any amount of time close by but it was generally pretty distant. We did get a couple of brief close views, including in song flight and Bun managed to see it perched nearby whilst my view was obscured by other birders. Talking of which, it was very busy with around eighty birders all crammed into a small carpark and  along short stretch of road.  Trying to view the bird from the road wasn't much fun as one had to continually gather up one's scope and dive for the verge, especially as many of the early arrivals were leaving. I'm sure superb views and photographic opportunities would have come with time but being a Saturday I had to be back for work later in the day so was not afforded the luxury of time (should have gone on Sunday in hindsight) Nice bird to see (and hear) non the less. Instead of photos of the bird, here's one of the 'twitch'.

We popped in to see the Iberian Chiffchaff (yawn) at Wentworth Forest on the way back, because Bun 'needed' it  having missed the one we had on patch in 2007. It was easy to locate by it's distinctive song which is a good job coz it looks exactly like a Chiffchaff..

Yesterday I had a sudden and overwhelming desire to visit the town of my birth and to spend some quality time in the comforting surroundings of my childhood home with my loving parents. The fact that this is a mere 20 miles from a certain 'not so small brown job' in a reed bed had absolutely nothing to do with it. Honestly!  

On arriving at Straw's Bridge in Ilkeston I could hear the Great Reed Warbler as soon as I  got to the second pond. It was remarkably loud and continued singing for the entire time I was there (around 40 mins). I had the kids with me, my daughter stayed in the car but my cynical 17 year old son opted to join me. After we'd stood staring at the reedbed for several minutes he said " Your never going to see it in there!" I explained that you had to be very patient and wait for the bird to come to the top of the reeds. He wandered off, I assumed back to the car, but he had gone to look from the other side of the small reedbed. The bird eventually emerged and continued to sing in full view. I was very surprised indeed when I noticed my son running towards me, then nabbing my scope for a look. That's my boy! :-) There were only two other birders on site, which is hardly surprising as the bird's been present for about four weeks now, definitely my favourite kind of twitch though. Shame more birds don't stay longer. On our way back to the car we met a local lady who was walking her dog (or small bear!) she said she couldn't wait until the ****** thing had gone as her dog/bear couldn't have his usual swim in the pond! I said don't worry it'll be gone by the end of August! ;-) I got some nice photos of the bird and a bit of video. The video clip was very badly timed though as the bird's song is competing with a low flying aircraft and the noisy shutter of the photographer standing beside me. Though competing very well I might add :-)
The teeny reedbed where the Great Reed Warbler has set up his territory.

Only news from the patch that I have is that there is a fine specimen of Greater Butterfly Orchid flowering on Axe Cliff. I stumbled upon it on my usual dog-walking route. These grow on the protected and isolated grassland of Goat Island along with many other Orchid species but I've never seen one away from this area before. Interestingly there were a group of 18 Southern Marsh Orchids on Axe Cliff last year but I haven't seen any of these this year.
Greater Butterfly Orchid

1 comment:

Wilma said...

Beautiful shots of the reed warbler singing!