My decent(ish) finds in Feb 2012: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler Carnon Downs 04/02, 1 Water Pipit Carnon Downs 04/02, 1 Smew Loe Pool 01/02

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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Green(ish) Warbler

A bit of a frustrating day today. I was down at Church Cove fairly early morning, but didn’t give it a very thorough search as I bumped into another birder who had just given the area a blast without seeing much. I did encounter a flock of phylloscs upon arrival and glimpsed one which appeared to have a shortish tail, but my bins were steamed-up, so I went back to the car to get a cloth to clean them and could only relocate a firecrest, which I assumed it to be. After a blast of the Housel drinking pools and the Youth Hostel gardens (nowt bar a Black Redstart) I headed home. Shortly after getting there, I got a text from Tony – “Greenish reported church cove by end house mariners cottage”. Ouch! Realising the date (and hence the possibilities) – I decided to head straight back. I arrived at about the same time as Andy and a few visiting birders. No sign for a couple of hours, but news trickled through that it might be a Green Warbler. Double ouch! As the bird hadn’t been seen I was confused as to how the bird had changed identity, so phoned Stuart Piner at RBA to find out the story. Found by a visiting birder from Cambridge – one Mr Poyser. I relocated the bird while actually on the phone to Stu (who says blokes can’t multi-task!), but decided on single-tasking and hung-up before getting the full story. Myself and about five other birders managed reasonable views, but in very poor light. I gave it a blast of Rare Eastern Vagrants on my iPod, but it didn’t respond to either, nor did it call. To me it seemed very fresh – clean white underneath rather than yellow, but with a bit of yellow in the supercilium. Based on my views, I’d lean towards Greenish rather than Green, but the light was appalling and I'm sure the original finders would have seen it much better. No hint of a second wing-bar that I could make out. Certainly one of the "Green(ish)" super-species rather than a wing-barred Willow though. It was favouring the trees around the pool near the carpark rather than the bushes down by Mariners cottage and crossing over to the graveyard on occasion. I’ll be down first light tomorrow to try and get better views. A very late date for a Greenish!

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