Monday, December 05, 2022

Its not quite over!

Hume's Warbler on a cardboard box...

After my last blog where I thought surely the end of autumn had come, we had a flurry of Sibe activity. Autumn lasts longer these days.

Not far from home, a couple of Hume's Warblers had taken up temporary residence at Low Newton village. I don't recall Northumberland having a multiple of this species before but stand to be corrected.

The spots favoured by these birds were not the best for viewing, the first being a site where you need to look over a high wall into even higher spruce trees for a distant glimpse. The second area, just about 50 mtrs behind the walled garden is a small stand of spruce at the end of a private cul-de-sac. I am not a fan of this type of site as it always looks suspicious to residents, but, saying that, not many 'residents' live here anyway, so a lot were empty second homes or holiday lets at the end of the season.

Last Wednesday was a day off work and with a couple of hours spare I popped along to try my luck. Knowing the walled garden is a pain, I stationed myself nonchalantly at the end of the cul-de-sac over looking both the small spruces and the taller walled garden trees. The whole place was very quiet in thick wet mist. No birds were in the close trees but I thought I'd give it half an hour to see if the birds moved around.

Soon after, I heard a single, fine wagtail like 'tiss-wick' across the paddock? Was it the bird or had I just misheard something? I scanned the distant trees with my bins and soon saw a pale small bird fitting about the upper branches, yes it was the Hume's Warbler. Distant, I thought, but at least I had seen it, when it only up and flew right across the field into the trees beside me where it fed low down in the dark damp branches of the spruce.

With some manoeuvring, decent views were possible at times but photography was a non starter. Once the warbler had a short burst of calls, repeating the two syllable wagtail note 4 or 5 times before falling silent again.

Its a long time since I've seen a Hume's Warbler so this one was most welcome. Unfortunately there was no sign of the second individual.

Surely its winter now!

A foggy soggy Hume's Warbler. The best I could manage in the dark conditions.


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

What a beautiful illustration

Stewart said...

Thanks Simon...

The Wessex Reiver said...

Seconded re the illustration - and all your field note illustration, they're fabulous. Feel we observers we need a book publishing "The Country Diary of a Northumbrian Birder" :-)

David said...

We had two together in North Norfolk this week (Plus a third just a couple of miles along the coast) Don't remember multiples here ei9ther! An unexpected addition to this year's records.,
(Great drawing, BTW!)