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Marsh Warbler at Porth Hellick

13th August 2021

I’ve only ever seen five Marsh Warbler, all on Scilly, and three of them in the last year. So I was kinda of surprised when I found this individual at Porth Hellick this evening.

It was a heavy day at work and I didn’t finish until gone 20.00. It was 19.40 and I just had time to nip down to Porth Hellick before I had to return to the airport. I jumped out of my wagon, opened the gate and immediately on my left in the Sallows, I could hear 2 Reed Warbler calling to each other and paused to have a look at them. I was just about to leave when I saw some movement coming through and raising my bins I got onto an obvious paler acro warbler. It was pretty mobile moving through the Sallows out of sight but I was ready for it with my camera as I thought that maybe this is a Marsh Warbler? Reed and Marsh Warbler are two species very difficult to identify in the field. So I was really believing, no chance, it’s goin to be a Reed Warbler. It just wouldn’t stay still and continued to actively feed and in a split second, I managed to fire off a single shot when it was front on out in the open before it made it’s way down lower into the undergrowth where I lost it. A few minutes later I could see it at the back of some Willows and tried to focus onto it with the camera. My time was up and by the features that I could make out on the few BOC record shots, it did look very good for a Marsh Warbler. I put the news out as a probable, so others would hopefully come to see it and pin it down. After dropping off the guests at the hotel, I stopped off at Rens to show him the BOC shots and get his opinion. ‘Look at the claws, they appear pale’ I couldn’t see the claws never mind the colour as I left my glasses at home. Pale claws was a feature that I had totally forgotten about but everythin else that he commented on, I did know already and he thought also that it pointed towards Marsh Warbler. Ideal! I rushed back to Porth Hellick to find no one there and relocated it within a few minutes. It was still favouring the same Willows but all I got was the odd glimpse as it stayed at the back. It also called a few times and I thought that it sounded a quieter, softer rattle compared to the harsh, louder Reed Warblers nearby. Robin had joined me but he was too late and was getting dark as there was no sign of it. On the pool there was a Green Sandpiper and a high count of 31 Moorhen.

I showed these record shots to some of the top notch birders in town and they all agreed that it looked good for Marsh Warbler. Ideal!! Friday the 13th!? Who believes in that crap??

The Green Sandpiper was showing very well in front of the seaward hide

The day before, 2 Siskin were at the Garrison

And for comparison to the Marsh Warbler, here are three different Reed Warbler in different light that posed for me a few days ago

Back home, so many species of bird are coming to bath and drink in the pool in front of the window including Starlings and Greenfinches

Starling taken from bathroom window

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Author: Kris Webb 10

I love to throw sticks at trees! I also can’t get enough of music! I also blog about my observations on Scilly and wherever I go around the world and what’s sometimes on my mind. I’ve visited over 30 countries and some more times than once. I’ve worked and volunteered in Nepal, USA, Peru, Gambia, Costa Rica, 3x Australia, and refugee camps in Palestine The profile image is one I took while in Palestine of a brave Israeli holding high the Palestinian flag in front of the Israeli Offensive Forces during protests in Belin

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