Thursday, 26 March 2020

Pennington Flash

At least four Cetti's warblers singing at the flash today including a very showy individual.

The rise of Cetti's warbler in the UK has been remarkable and almost as explosive as it's song. My first Cetti's was in 1983 at Radipole in Dorset, which for a long time was the stronghold for the species in the UK and virtually the only place you had any chance of seeing one. The UK breeding population at the time was in single figures. Twenty years later in 2003 I saw only my seventh Cetti's at Titchwell in Norfolk and my first in North West England was as recently as 2008 at Wigan Flashes. It took another five years for me to hear a Cetti's at Pennington Flash in 2013 but since than the species has become well established to such an extent that it is now largely ignored by most birders as they walk around the flash.

Ignored that is until one chooses to show itself. Cetti's warbler is notoriously skulking and even now I might only see a handful of birds well during an entire year. Thankfully though it has an explosive and unmistakable song which betrays it's presence even if the bird isn't on view. Today I got lucky and came across two males having a dispute which seemed to keep their minds focused on each other and they seemed almost unaware that I was standing next to them!

Other birds today included two black-tailed godwits, redshank and a fly-over greenshank. No sign of yesterdays garganey, but they are probably still around. I just have a minute or two at each viewing point as I rush around the flash, so they only have to be asleep in the reeds or behind an island and I would easily miss them. Also I don't have a scope with me so I can't easily view the spit.


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