Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Grasshopper Warbler

Each year I have to rely on my birding buddy Dave to find me a Grasshopper Warbler. Their reel is well above my hearing range. Fortunately Dave is still up to it and has an uncanny ability to track them down. Without his help I would have little chance of finding one. I then try to repay his help by taking a better picture than he does! Not so easy today. This bird had a territory centered on a low bramble bush surrounded by long grass.

Not too bad on the long range shots but when you try to crop them, the out of focus grass becomes more prominent. There is not a lot that you can do, other than use the lens wide open to put everything but the bird out of focus. Go any closer and you will flush your target.

The bird did actually come a lot closer to us. It was feeding mouse like in the grass and probably closed the distance to about twenty feet at one stage. You could hear it and occasionally see it on the long grass but it was impossible to get a picture.

Earlier we had completed a circuit of Pulborough Brooks picking up year ticks on Nightingale, Whitethroat, and House Martin. The Nightingales were at Fatengates, West Mead and in Adder Alley. Most were in deep cover and were just starting to use the subsong although one at Adder Alley was more advanced on its song and was showing reasonably well. It will probably be another week and a half before they really get going and give the picture opportunities that people are looking for. Here is one from last year.

Nightingale 18th April 2016

A number of other birds were seen including those shown below, Blackcap, Green Woodpecker, and Linnet.


Green Woodpecker


One of the best finds was our first Dragonfly of the year, Most years it would be the Large Red but this year it was a Hairy Dragonfly

Hairy Dragonfly

Also seen over the past week, Tree Pipits at Old Lodge and Orange Tip and Green-veined White butterflies at most locations.

Tree Pipit

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Green-veined White

We also saw Sand Martins and Swallows to add to the year list and a possible Garden Warbler that we were unable to confirm.

All in, a good days birding.

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