Thursday, 14 May 2015

Warbler Alley

13th May.  Warbler Alley is also known as the Bumpy Road.  Yes we were at Prestwick Carr today and enjoyed a feast of warblers along the way.  We spent far longer than expected watching and listening to Garden Warbler, Blackcaps, Common Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers and Willow Warblers.  Chiffchaff was also heard, but I now can’t for the life of me think where.  A very enjoyable morning and early afternoon with the star bird being the Garden Warbler.  I was feeling rather proud of myself having immediately picked up the bird by song before having good and long sightings of it.  I have to become accustomed each year to several warbler songs and I didn’t think I’d ever crack the difference between Blackcap and Garden Warbler.  Thankfully I think I have the secret now, at least for this year!  Unusually for a Garden Warbler this one showed really well and we lost track of time watching it.  In my view the best way to learn bird song is to be able to watch the bird whilst it’s singing.  I have to admit that many moons ago I didn’t take much notice at all of bird song and I find that almost unbelievable now.  How can anyone enjoy watching birds without taking an interest in song?  I know many people who seem to do just that.  Anyway, there is to be a focus on bird song and calls on the walk Sam and I are leading on Saturday.  I’m hoping we come across Garden Warbler so we can both appear extremely smug and say ‘oh it just takes practice’.  I’ll of course omit to say how many years I’ve been practicing with this one!  I was surprised that we didn’t hear Grasshopper Warbler today.

Well camouflaged male Orange Tip Butterfly
Once at the end of Warbler Alley it became very quiet and the red flag was flying (sadly not in Westminster) so we weren’t able to get past the sentry who we had a pleasant chat with.  Other notable birds seen included some mewing Common Buzzards showing most of the time we were around, Kestrels, Grey Partridges, Lapwing and Reed Bunting both seen and heard.  Swifts, Swallows and House Martins were feeding on the many insects about today.  I think I caught sight of Stonechat in the distance, but can’t be certain.  We picked up the Garden Warbler again on the return walk.  Both Weasel and Roe Deer were seen, as was Orange Tip Butterfly.  I think there would have been far more of the latter had the sun shone at length and it had been a bit warmer.

Ha ya seen wor Billy?  Always guaranteed a friendly face along Warbler Alley
The later part of the day was spent down at the coast where it was very quiet both in terms of birds and people with not even many dog walkers about showing that every day has its blessings.  We did have a Wheatear on the headland at Seaton Sluice, two Shags flying north and plenty of Sandwich Terns.  I enjoyed watching the Sand Martins over the wetland at St Mary’s Island and listened to more Sedge Warblers, but didn’t pick up the sound of Grasshopper Warbler here either.  About time the council put some money and effort into this wetland in my opinion.

The tide was still way out as we prepared for a homeward journey whilst listening to the Skylarks.  I ended what had been a really good day unexpectedly down by the lake as day began to turn to night and Swifts lifted higher into a darkening sky.


  1. I wouldn't have known that was an Orange-tip, it camouflaged so well, lol! It's good to see you are doing lots of birding lately and fingers crossed for Saturday's walk.

  2. Garden Warbler still singing today moving east down road to more traditional territory in the copse