Monday, 10 May 2010

Putative Marsh Warbler at Coombe Abbey

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Monday 10th May 2010

Mill pool, Alvecote - Common Sandpiper, Little ringed Plover, Common Tern, Swift x100, House Martin x30

Coton - 50+ Swift

Cliff pool, KWP. - LRP x2


It was while I was in the hide at Kingsbury that I received a call from Dennis Woodward.'Why aren't you here?', he asked. 'Where'? I responded. 'Coombe abbey, looking at the Marsh warbler' The conversation convinced me that I ought to go and look/listen to this bird. I'd dismissed the first pager message but if someone was kind enough to make the effort to contact me then I ought to make the effort to go and have a look.

Somebody had gone to a good deal of trouble to arrange access and to sign the route from the car park at Coombe Abbey. So it was straight foward finding the area the bird was singing from. Only trouble was it wasnt singing, at least for some time. When it did it sounded like a bog standard Reed warbler. I was joined by 2 other birders the bird sang intermittently but then gave the most extraordinary burst of song, a mixture of Blackbird song and alarm call. Thats it we agreed. The bird stayed low in the reeds only occasionally showing itself. Paul Hodges {the finder} arrived with Steve Cawthray. With the clouds darkening I was pessimistic about the bird singing again let alone showing itself. But sing it did, going through a full repetoire of imitating other birds calls and songs: Blue tit, Greenfinch, Linnet, Nightingale to name a few. By the time Tom Perrins and Adam Archer arrived the bird had reverted to a basic Reed warbler like song. Tom expressed reservation about the birds identity and quoted comments from the bird forums. I also have reservations, reservations about comments on forums made by people who weren't actually there. Its a subject I would like to return to but its way past my bedtime.

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