(1) Sedge Warbler
The Sedge Warbler.
The summer is now upon us with the temperature rising, the rain getting warmer, and all the migratory birds have arrived.
This weeks bird being cheery one minute and scolding the next. The best place to find them is near water, perched on a branch of willow or on top of a handy reed, indeed, as you go on your travels it is hard not to come across quite a few of them.
If you go to the bird hide at the Kirk Dam and sit quietly you will hear and see three of them giving it laldy, trying to out-sing each other as they search for a partner.
Almost every area that has water near it will be a host to many pairs of these summer visitors.
During May, (when they arrive) is the best time to see these birds as they stay out in the open a lot so that they will be noticed.
They sit near or atop of a suitable perch and call out with melodious phrases, and are also good mimics. They will then take to the air in a very short flight and come to rest on low vegetation, when their voice changes to a harsh grating/ scolding notes, as though they have seen you and are giving you a telling off, but this is not intended for you, it is for other birds of the same species and sex to keep away from their patch.
They will then climb up a branch and their tune will change once more to the melodic phrases that identify them.
Of all the warblers, I find that this is easy to identify with a dark line going through the eye, and a broad creamy stripe just above it, and a crown that is brown and black streaked almost like a black cap, but not quite.
They are not stuck with one name. They have old country names like the Mock Nightingale and the Scotch Nightingale, as these little birds like the Nightingale, sing at night as well as by day when they first arrive here, which makes them a very interesting species to look and listen for.
As they follow in the name of the Scotch Canary that we seldom see nowadays, it is an added bonus to look them up.
Like most spring arrivals, one day there are none, and the next there seems to be one around every corner mixing their song with Willow Warblers, Black caps, White- throats, Chiffchaffs and Grasshopper warblers, giving us a good mixture to be going on with, trying to differentiate which is which.
The hedgerows are full at the moment just waiting for you to go and look them up, so happy hunting.
First published in the Buteman 28-05-2004