October 20th   Leave a comment

I spent an hour this morning a few meters from the dusky warbler in a foolhardy attempt to get a photo. It was frequenting the same rose bushes, with occasional forays up into the willows, as yesterday. It was calling less than yesterday, but with some good bouts early this morning. When it stopped moving it was always in the depths of a bush or in thick branches. And when it was visible, it was constantly on the move. I am tempted to say a dusky warbler is more of an impression than a sighting: a sketch of the bird and only its call to easily identify it will have been most people’s experience. It was pretty much mine too today as I blew all of its clear views trying to line up my camera rather than just appreciating them. Photography is a tradeoff, and I thought I would never get into it at the expense of enjoying a bird. Still, I enjoyed the challenge and all the time the dusky warbler’s call and its general look and behaviour was being ironed into my brain for the next time. The dusky warbler was seen at least until late afternoon and I suspect it will be here tomorrow, for its third day.

The other really interesting bird today was a chiffchaff at upper Kilminning with an odd song. It started as a chiffchaff but then tailed off into almost willow warbler like notes. I asked around and apparently chiffchaffs from Asia (i.e. east of the Urals and towards Siberia) sing like this. Far eastern and Siberian chiffchaffs turn up at Kilminning at this time of year but it usually their calls that give them away, not their song. But with all of the warm weather… So warm in fact that I have had the frogs in my garden pond croaking on several nights this week. And so warm that most trees still have all their leaves, making spotting warblers even more tricky.

A long -tailed tit – part of a flock that joined the dusky warbler in its bushes at Kilminning this morning. A lot easier to photograph than the warbler. (John Anderson)

Posted October 20, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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