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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Icterine or bust

On Saturday 26 May, I was definitely feeling under the weather, I hauled myself out of bed and by 11am I belatedly switched the phones on, tweets about an Icterine or Marsh Warbler found by James B, had me hot-footing it to Corton ORT. The Lizards were out in full voice and by the copse, they were watching a Pied Fly that in my lethargy, I just could not see. I then walked over to the "Plantation" or the Sallows area by the western end, standing just west of the grand Oak. A couple of delightful Green Hairstreak butterflies were seen (I'd left my Macro lens at home again, I really was feeling ill!) After an hour of no birds, I walked back to the copse, and was cheered by spotting the excellent male Pied Flycatcher, perched almost right at the very top of an Oak and I was cheered further by the arrival of Don & Gwen. A tweet from Alison, stating they'd just seen it had me back at the plantation, it was singing a delightful song with some notes sounding like a toy whistle, and after 20 minutes, I was watching with Phil H and I spotted the bird, the excellent Icterine Warbler suddenly dart into an Alder tree just right of the Willow bush. It had a big orange bill, flattened sloping forehead, olive green above and yellow below, the primaries appeared very long extending to around half the tail length. The only thing I didn't see was the pale wing panel. Although Rob Wil had seen this feature earlier. It flitted up the tree then down again. The Icterine Warbler flew over to the Black thorn bush singing. It briefly flew up to the grand oak before it flew across to the bushy scrub area to the south. I saw the bird here well for about 10 seconds, and I noted the face and long almost dagger-like orange bill. It disappeared again, having been joined by Justin and brother and Ricky, as we watched c50 Swifts suddenly flying overhead. A flurry of activity includded, a Great Spotted Woodpecker fly over to the large HB Oak by the rail track and a singing Chiff- Chaff nearby. I then saw the Icterine fly back to the grand Oak, it sang from here concealed for a couple of minutes before it darted back to its favourite Willow scrub area, where it continued to sing on and off mostly subsong, until a couple of "birders" stood right in front of the area it frequented, I managed to get them back to where we were explaining about that rare quality "fieldcraft" once they moved away the bird started singing again.

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