Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Reeling in the ears


No, not the classic rock hit by the brilliant Steely Dan but that ‘where’s that noise coming from’ call of the Grasshopper Warbler.

If you have read my previous post, you’ll know I didn’t have time to locate this Houdini of warblers due to time constraints. Today though, I devoted all my time or at least most of it to finding this little joker and getting a few snaps of it.

The weather was just about okay. There was a mizzle but that disappeared and I only had a brisk easterly wind to deal with.

Within minutes, a Cuckoo showed along with Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats and a supporting cast of Goldfinches, Chaffinches and Linnets. It wasn’t long before I picked up the reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler. They are very good at throwing their voice and as I went in one direction, it sounded like it was coming from another. Good game this. Needless to say, my extraordinary birding field skills along with the gut instinct of going either one of two ways I found it. Well I found the weeds it was reeling from anyway.

Eventually it climbed up the weed/plant/whatever and reeled away like crazy. It was a bit distant and the aforementioned weed swayed about a lot. Digiscoping is a black art at the best of times but trying to get a nice sharp image is hard especially as the camera wants to focus on the swaying weed (must find out the Latin name to impress you) and not the bird.
Grasshopper Warbler and some plant

...and these were the better shots!
I managed three passable shots and about 50 that were so blurred, they were positively artistic. Also of note, as I was waiting for the warbler I was thinking about how it was that I hadn’t seen a single Wheatear yet this spring. Then, guess what?

Yep, a lovely male Wheatear appeared in a classic pose atop a fencepost just metres from me. I would have taken a beautiful picture of it too if it hadn’t decided to disappear as I readjusted my scope. Oh well, if photographing birds was a piece of cake, it wouldn’t be so satisfying when it goes to plan.


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