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Arctic Warbler at Content

1st November 2021

It’s the 1st November and the last thing that I expected to turn up on this day so late, was this Arctic Warbler at Content Lane

Just after 11 this morning, I dropped off guests at the stables, passing the Pink-footed Goose on the way there in it’s usual field at The Moos and also 3 Swallow overhead. I had thirty minutes before returning to work and I thought I would see if Robins Little Bunting he had yesterday off Pungies Lane, might be still there. It didn’t take long to sweep the field with no sign of the bunting but 4 Skylark and 30 each of Chaffinch and Brambling were still present. I continued around until I got to Content Lane. The conditions got duller as the next shower moved through. Immediately, I caught a movement high up in the ivy and lifted my bins and all I could see was a white belly on a large bulky phyllosc It’s November ‘Not another Northern Willow Warbler!’ I thought. I’ve had them in this area before and I’ve lost count of how many I’ve found with one or more of these cracking birds most years and always think, why can’t it, just for once, be an Arctic Warbler? I was looking at it from below but when it moved side on, I caught two narrow pale wing bars and it had a whacky super. I’ve had NWW with prominent supers but only showing a single narrow wing bar. This was looking like the real deal. At last, I had found an Arctic Warbler!! In the next few minutes, it showed at close range as it came down to head height before flicking back into the canopy. I had to return to work and just as I was leaving, Rik Anderson and Scott were already on the scene after I released the news and I left them to it with the warbler.

In the ten minutes that I had with the Arctic Warbler, except for a brief view of it being at head height, it spent most of it’s time high up feeding activly in the top of the Elms and Sycamores.

Earlier on in the morning, the Olive-backed Pipit was still being reported from the usual Nowhere field. A few minutes to spare on my ways to the airport and I managed to get the pipit low down in the east hedge. while in the next-door field, there were 3 Brambling and 12 Siskin. It was not until later on that I went and spent the last hour of light with the Arctic Warbler at Content. It performed well and in the conditions, I put the IOS up and fired off a few shots. I put the camera away and for the next forty minutes, I observed it with bins before returning home.

The Olive-backed Pipit has been hanging out in the same Nowhere field for just over a week now

One of the 3 Brambling next to Nowhere with others overhead elsewhere

Also up to 12 Siskin in the same field with small numbers heard overhead

But only this single Greenfinch in with the Siskin

I returned later on to Content Lane and the Arctic Warbler showed off at close range in the fading light. If all accepted, I’ve now discovered, Marsh, Greenish, Western Bonelli’s and now this Arctic Warbler in less than three months!

No sign of the Richard’s Pipit at Content today but yesterday it gave good views from the road

Also yesterday, there were 3 Wheatear and the Whinchat at the airport carpark

Below are some images of the different Northern Willow Warbler I’ve discovered on Scilly Some individuals appear to look like an Arctic Warbler if viewed from below, all being large and bulky and if only a very brief observation was made. This is just seven NWW that I discovered out of at least the 15+ and they’re all from late October to November Only last year I turned up two but so far this year, not one!

This striking frosty individual with a narrow pale wing bar and prominent white super, was a cracker It looks like another species I discovered it at Higher Moors in November 2015. Note the orangy legs and feet contrasting with the white belly. In fact, I had three different birds on the same day but the others were the usual looking NWW.

This is also one of the three that day at Higher moors appearing your typical NWW and not as frosty as the first three images Just look at that potbelly Don’t see that on your Willow Warblers

Found this corker at Lower Moors and not so frosty as the Higher Moors individual but still very pale looking Nov 2018

In the same area as todays Arctic Warbler was this NWW in Oct 2017 A week later, I relocated it at Lower Moors and shortly after, now in November, I came across it at Higher Moors. Note the white feather misplaced out on the upper coverts of the wing

This was one of two that fed together that I came across on Tresco in Nov 2014

And another one I had at Lower Moors in November 2019

Also at Lower Moors in November 2017

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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

2 thoughts on “Arctic Warbler at Content”

  1. 👍 – Kris, I asked the other day about the Western Subalpine Warbler – I thought they were difficult to Id in this plumage – was it id’d on call? Cheers,


    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Folks are leaning towards Western cuz its only been heard to ‘tak’ I was told by Andy Holden that they all ‘tak’ I didn’t know that myself However, if it was Moltonis, then we would have heard the rattle by now Also the tail supports Western as well but rules out Eastern The call has been recorded and I believe that also supports Western


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