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, 15 May 2013

Knee-high to a grasshopper warbler

Dear God. Could you please refrain from making early spring mornings less dewy. My boots, socks and fetching cargo pants got rather wet at the weekend as I crawled through scrub grass at Thistly marsh in a quest to capture a Grasshopper Warbler. Picture the scene; I’m crawling through wet grass at 6am, trying to un-snare my telescope’s tripod legs from a resistant bramble tentacle whist attempting to not collapse on my backside which would rightly raise a few questions from passers-by later on.

I could hear that tinnitus-like reeling or playing cards in the bike spoke sound of the Grasshopper Warbler a few metres away but couldn’t see anything – this is normal. I caught a glimpse of the joker as it moved from one small straggly bush to another. It was keeping low and unhelpful. This too is normal.

Finally, it blinked first and sat up in a Hawthorn bush and sang it’s little heart out. I still had to manoeuvre myself and my kit to a view where I could get a shot. Normally a bird flies the perch just as I’m about to press the camera button but as with many warblers at the moment, if they settle on a perch and start singing, this generally means they will stay for a bit – but don’t quote me.

Grasshopper Warbler
It had taken me 2 hours to get this shot and, although not perfect or in focus, it was worth the wet legs and dodgy grass stains on my knees. Now I could move on to more obliging birds in the park. Star performer is without doubt the Sedge Warbler. When it’s in the mood, it likes nothing more than to find a nice perch (in the open) and sing. A digi-scoping dream if you ask me.

Sedge Warbler
Luckily, the sun was coming out and warming my damp pegs and drying my strides. I didn’t feel such an idiot now and could confidently converse with other people in the park without them staring at my legs. Now I was 'less noticeable', something else wasn’t. All along the paths from Bowyer’s Water to Fishers Green, Garden Warbler song filled the air. last week there may have been one or two but this time there could easily have been 15 - 20 birds.

Garden Warbler

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