By far the undoubted highlight this morning was finding a singing male Marsh Warbler
just east of South Hill Barn. I initially heard it as I got out of the car at 6am, but at this point Melodious hadn't been ruled out. This was soon resolved as a 'Bee-Eater' and 'Quail' were calling from the same bush!!
The bird sang continuously and showed relatively well up until 8am, and was not seen again until 10.15am when it was re-located briefly on the western edge of Hope Gap (around 400 metres away from its original position), only to be seen again briefly in the evening.
This is certianly a bird I have been wanting to find for a long time, and even better on the patch, and even better a Sussex tick. Myself and Bob did manage to get many sound recordings of the Marsh Warbler, which can be found lower down on this post. Just remember to turn the sound up!!
the crested appearance, along with the cold grey upperparts, uniform palish underparts and the dark alula all suggest Marsh Warbler.
I hoped to capture a shot like this, as it really portrays the intensity of the song. The bill reminded me of an Olivaceous Warbler.
the legs appear to be yellow/orange tinged and the flanks showing no warmish tones.
the nape down to the rump are concolourous, being a cold grey. However, critical detail here including the very long primary projection (much longer in length then the exposed tertials) and the longest tertial just passing the secondary bar are perfect for Marsh Warbler (ruling out Reed Warbler at the same time), as are the pale claws.
When viewing the bird through Jamie Wilkinson's scope, the thin pale edges to each primary were seen. The plumage was very fresh looking, again all pro features of Marsh Warbler. Also the edges to the tertials barely contrast with the upperparts.
However, the song was really a dead give away, with many different songs/calls noted all expressed rather explosively, namely Bee-Eater, Quail, Swallow, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Whitethroat and a mixture of its own notes. Most importantly, not a single note of Reed Warbler was indicated.
Turn the sound right up!!!
(male Marsh Warbler on Seaford Head)
BLYTH'S REED WARBLER
- 1 singing male seen all too briefly late on this evening. Still, this completed a nice duo of Acros for the day.