What is going on this winter!
Birding around the Midlands has actually been really decent this winter, with Two-Barred Crossbills, Glossy Ibis, Seaduck, the usual array of scarce Gulls and more than a fair share of Great-northern Divers!
It really does all seem to be going on. And it was on the 25th, while our crew from Worcestershire was thrashing North Norfolk, a text informed us to the presence of another regional MEGA!
Like Two-Barred Crossbill, this really was up there with the rare of the rare of Midlands birds, being only the 2nd ever in the WMBC area and a first for Warwickshire!
The temptation proved to hard to resist, i knew missing this one would be severely annoying, so, after sitting through the early morning rain until mid-day at home, and letting the hardcore of Midlands Birding, that being, Martyn, Kay and the man of the hour, Mr Dave Hutton, the finder of this superb eastern gem to relocate the bird, i finally headed out once the skies started to clear.
An hour or so later, we were pulling up near the famous Edison road outflow, where the HUME'S LEAF WARBLER had been seen.
First of all, a homage needs to be made to this stunning location! An area of wasteland, strewn with litter and plastered in glutinous mud and overgrown bramble, surrounded on all sides by the Hams Hall industrial estate adjacent to the warm outflow water from the sewage works which feeds into the river.
What a stunning location for the Warbler to choose!
An anxious 30 Minuite wait followed, with no sign of the bird, but i was mid sentence to a local birder when a piercing 'dsu-weet' call emerged from the line of tree's between us and the river. Immediately it was obvious this was the bird we were here to see, emphasised by Martyn's somewhat frantic pointing to his birding companion Kay towards an area of tree's a few meters from where they stood.
Within a few seconds, and having covered only a few meters, the bird flew out of the tree line, and dropped into a block of Bramble in front of me, slowly working its way past through a variety of tree's and bushes.
At this point, plumage detail was hard to see, but as it worked its way down the hedgeline, it started to give slightly longer views, at times spending a fair time feeding in a few spindley hawthorn bushes in the nettle clumps. Here, the crowd was able to scope the bird, and everything supported what i had expected to see. A very cold and washed out 'Leaf warbler' (particularly so on the crown, being a grey colour here), showing the familiar greater covert bar of its close couin the Yellow-Browed warbler, but having a very pale median covert bar, being almost non-existant! Although it is somewhat of a cliche when talking about Humes Warbler, it really did appear as if you were watching a Leaf warbler through clouded Bins.
One of the main attractive points for these excellent Siberian warblers, as well as their obvious beauty, is the ferantic, flitting flycatching behaviour they posess is very appealing, being very restless and busy, much akin to our 'regulus' genus (that being Goldcrest and Firecrest), which are also species i love to watch.
With the crowd having now relaxed, having all had a decent view of the bird it truily became an enjoyable twitch! With many 'familiar faces' being present, the conversation and atmosphere was brilliant. To catch up with so many familiar, old, and new faces is one of the reason i enjoy twitching.
You all know who you are, so i wont bother with that, but thanks all for making this bird ever more sweeter! Cheers to Dave for the find, certainly one of my most enjoyable midlands twitches in a long time!
Lets do it again!