Paddyfield Warbler

Great start to the day – yesterday’s south-easterlies continued through the night, with a couple of rain showers. Yesterday JLI found a Barred Warbler in the plantation, so today’s action wasn’t altogether unexpected, though of course not a given, and a good surprise for all that.

Phone call from BM just as I was leaving the house. He’d found an interesting warbler, and thought maybe it was Booted… A bit of a mad panic from me, trying to find the right lenses for the camera and my car keys. Yes, I know the plantation’s just half a mile from home, but this would be a new bird for the patch…

Met BM, and chatted while we waited for JLI to arrive. From BM’s description of the head pattern, Paddyfield sounded more likely, albeit with the caveat that this was seemingly a very pale bird. JLI pitched up, and we held back while BM set up a mist net. Reasonable warbler activity, with a few Willows lobbing around, and all of a sudden a pale job streaked past us. Clearly the bird, and strikingly pale. Ooer.

A couple more flight views, and a brief moment with it perched in some scrub willow – a suggestion of a sandy ginger rump in flight, and a pale supercilium with something of a dark line above it. Paddyfield now looking more certain than ever.

JA arrived, and we drove the plantation. The bird pitched down in front of the net, and I walked it in. Up to the net, and all I could see was a Willow Warbler – but there in the bottom corner was another bird. BM extracted it – Paddyfield!

Processed it back at the road – a strikingly different bird to the last Paddyfield we caught here, with none of the warm gingery tones on the upperparts that bird had, this bird being a very pale sandy brown with just a hint of rufous on the rump. A less obvious head pattern too. Nevertheless, a smart Paddyfield. Better still *, while I scribed and BM measured a wader flew over calling – a Greenshank. First one I’ve heard here in 5 years, so I did get a patch tick this morning after all.

* joking. Well, I think I am…


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