Sunday, 24 May 2015

A big bogey picked!

As many readers of this blog may be aware, Icternine Warblers and I do not get on, or should I say I have an amazing track record of being a few minutes too late, watch it fly over my head etc. So today was probably my 6/7th attempt to see this once scarce now rare warbler.

I had my first lay in in ages this morning after a semi late night at a wedding last night, so at breakfast I checked my pager (9.30ish) to see an Icky had been seen at West Runton, I guess I had to go and check it out so off I went... I arrived to find c25 people staring into a corner but no sign for a while, I stayed for 10mins and thought it looked a bit windy where people were looking and that it would surely be better on the other side of the scrub line. I was slightly torn (given my track record with this species) do I stay where the bird has been seen and lots of eyes looking or do I do what I think is right. I chose the latter and found a nice sheltered spot, I heard a small burst of song which was instantly recognisable and then a bird flew into an area of buckthorn, I stayed on the area where I could see something moving about when all of a sudden it hopped onto a branch in full view. I was finally watching an Icterine Warbler and what a bird it was, lemon coloured with a large orangey bill, short super, square tail and an amazingly prominent wing panel. I was just staring at it with binoculars despite having the camera on my shoulder, I really didn't want to ruin the moment with a blurred image!
It was only on show for 10 seconds or so then flicked down, by now a few other birders had arrived and I located again in a poplar, this time I chose to photograph it as it fed in the tops of the tree, it then flew back to the buckthorn and disappeared.
I hung around for another hour and a half where it showed again a couple of times and gave a really good burst of song when the sun came out briefly.

 It was as bulky as I thought it would be, but the wing panel was far more obvious than I was expecting and the subtle head pattern with the black staring eye was quite distinctive. It certainly lived up to its skulky reputation, I can see how they disappear in more habitat (like the gun hill bird)
What a bird and such an overdue addition to my British list. It was well worth the wait and I'm glad to have seen it well and hear it sing, now to find one!

Almost looked a bit awkward in flight due to bulk and dangling legs

Square tail

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