Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Like London buses, Yellow-browed warbler at Houghton Green Pool

A week ago I bemoaned the fact that I never have any luck with yellow-browed warblers, I think the words I used were "they avoid me or I'm doing it wrong". In the space of the past five days I've now seen a total of six yellow-broweds, two of which I've found for myself and both were first records for the sites involved! Just goes to show, perseverance pays off.

This morning I walked down the tall hedge towards Cloverdell and found a long-tailed tit flock around the sycamores next to the buildings. Almost immediately I noticed a small warbler with the flock and I suspected it might be yellow-browed, but it took me a while to get a good look at it to confirm the identification.

For such a reputably vocal species, both birds I have found recently called very little. Certainly the Pennington Flash bird did call at first, in fact that's how I located it, but most of that afternoon it didn't call. Likewise todays bird didn't call once in the two hours or so that I was within earshot. The flock moved between the hedge and the willow scrub around the pool, and the easiest way to keep up with the warbler was actually to listen for the calls of long-tailed tits. They seemed to roam quite a distance, but always returned to their favoured corner.

I put the news out but as far as I know only Austin Morley came to have a look, probably partly due to it being a midweek bird, but also perhaps a sign of how many yellow-broweds there have been in the country this autumn. Fortunately Austin connected with the bird and took some excellent photos, including the two below. You can see more photos on his blog here.

I returned in the afternoon and spent two or three hours walking around the pool, and when I left at 15:45 the bird was still present with the long-tailed tits in the corner.

I've had a few year ticks recently and my year list now stands at: 248 (Yellow-browed warbler, brambling and bean goose are the recent additions).

Thanks to Austin for allowing me to use the above two photos. The following photos are mine (obviously!).

Spot the birdy! It's right in the centre of the photo, they don't call them leaf warblers for no reason.

Join the dots! About 800 pink-footed geese flew over in three flocks.

There were also 14 wigeon, 70 lapwings, 100 black-headed gulls and 80 mallard on the pool, plus a late swallow flew over this morning.


Harlequin ladybird.

The hoverfly Cheilosia bergenstammi on ragwort, identified by a combination of its hairy eyes, orange antennae, nose like protrusion and leg pattern / colouration.

This is a male Cheilosia bergenstammi because the eyes touch.

In female hoverflies, the eyes do not touch.

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