Yesterday morning as I sat outside counting the moth trap, a niggling little sub-song was going on in the front garden. I thought it might be a Garden Warbler, its a long time since I had one on patch let alone in the garden, but often I think this, to find on investigation that the songster is a new starting Blackcap before he gets in tune.
I went back to the moths. I popped inside for a new pen and said to Jane, 'you know, there's a bird out there singing a bit like a Reed Warbler, I am hoping its a Garden'.,..
As the moths were done and dusted I went quietly to the gable corner with my bins for a look. The singer was in our dying currant hedge, the home of numerous sparrows making finding a warbler difficult. Then, a still or slightly moving shape caught my eye. A drab bird, back facing me, bent over right preening its shoulder. Mmm, looks good for Garden Warbler. Some spuggie nonsense followed and my target jumped along the hedge towards me and began singing, this time in open dead twigs.
It wasn't a Garden Warbler at all. It was only a goddamn REED WARBLER! In my garden! What on earth? I was just thinking out loud when I said to Jane the quiet song was like Reed Warbler, I never thought it actually would be one. We have no phragmites for 6 miles around me and in Northumberland Reed Warbler is a scarce breeder, as you would imagine, fixed to the few reed beds we have.
The Reed Warbler then flew up into a tall sycamore of all places. I wondered about Marsh Warbler but the song had no mimicking in it. Marsh would possibly be just as likely as Reed here. I rang my neighbour Geoff Sample who is a known wildlife sound recordist to have a listen. The bird 'chug-chug-chug, chit-chit-chitted' He confirmed that it was a bog standard Reed Warbler. Later it returned to the hedge and sang on and off til about 11.10am when it was not seen or heard again afterwards.
Reed Warbler is garden tick #135. One in an autumn fall would be more likely but a spring singer, I'll take it!