Thursday, 2 June 2011

Taking the (Mi)mic!

I restarted blogging on the unlikely premise that I would find a Rare: 'Probably not a mega, but good enough to gather a sizable crowd, especially in this twitch-ridden county of Norfolk!'

I wrote this with little hope or expectation, as my birding 'lifestyle' rarely (!), allows such occasions to occur! However, last Sunday this changed - only a 'Scarce', but still one that would attract a crowd, but due to the circumstances of the occurrence careful thinking and management was needed - discussion of which might take place in a later post!

This is the account of the circumstances:

Sunday evening I found myself in the position where, with a little time and a wife telling me I needed to go out (I think she might have regretted that now!) I ventured out. It started quietly, but arrival at a certain site, soon changed this. Very early into the walk, a song grabbed my attention - 'Warbler? Yes, but something wasn't 'right'! I went over to the area that the song came from, already having an idea of what I expected to find. A period of quiet. Then Blue Tit call came forth from the bush, but there was no sign of any Blue Tits, then Blackbird. Primarily alarm call, but also snatches of song. There was definitely no Blackbird in there, the area was minute! The pieces of the jig-saw were coming together. All I needed to do was see it and hopefully, get some confirmation from others! If only it was that simple!

I texted Dave to find out if he was back in the country, he was, but a commitment meant he couldn't get over straight away. I phoned Ian. He was around, but needed to return home before he'd be able to pop over (I was getting the feeling they weren't quite as enthusiastic as I hoped!) I was thinking of keeping my contacts anonymous, using the pseudonyms of, 'birder A' and 'birder B', but I am sure the irony will not be lost on all of you. Well, confirmation by others would have to wait, but surely I'd be able to confirm it before they arrive. Certain songs and calls kept on appearing from the bush, including Skylark and the 'clincher' of bee-eater. I kept on re-positioning myself, but although the area it was frequenting was only about 10 m by 2 m, I just couldn't see it!

Ian arrived and for the next hour the frustration continued. We were both convinced (well nearly!) by the song, but the slightly unusual habitat and the fact that whenever we did see and identify any warblers, they all turned out to be Reed Warblers just left that element of doubt in our minds. I have heard mimicking Reeds before, but they have never, and could never have, sounded like this; could they? Dave finally arrived just before dusk (after another text telling him he really needed to come and see (sorry, listen) this bird!) Still, though, we couldn't see it (it was windy and overcast, which presumably was affecting it’s want to climb high!) We were all sure about its identity, but still wanted visual confirmation. It was decided to return at first light!

Monday 30th May, c4.30 am!

I arrived first on site and went back to 'The Bush'. Immediately a variety of song emanated from the area; now including Goldfinch and Chaffinch and one of my favourites, Common Tern! Today, though was different, the sounds could be followed to a bird singing within the bush. As soon as I saw its orange gap between wide open mandibles, it was confirmed for me: Marsh Warbler!

Dave soon arrived and we were able to piece together the nuances of the plumage and actions (details to follow). Then Ian arrived, along with Paul and we all enjoyed the repertoire and irregular views.

Due to the possibility of the bird attempting to breed and the sensitivity of the site itself (the bird itself being on private land) it was decided that news should not be widely broadcast.

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