Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler



This week we have a very small warbler called a 'Willow Warbler' that arrives in April, and is one of the first warblers to arrive, having been beaten by the 'Chiffchaff', another warbler, by a few days only.

This year, my first sighting, and hearing one was on the 14th of April, up at Loch Fad, and it was on the same tree that I have observed it for a few years, it is more than likely to be the same bird, and when you first hear one, within days, there appears to be one on every tree, such is the amount that arrive from East Africa each year, some three million pairs in Britain and Ireland, and we get our fair share on Bute.
They are very like the chiffchaff, and at times when they are both seen at the same time when migrating, they would be called 'Willow-chiffs'. The differences in their call leaves you in no doubt which one you are hearing, as the chiffchaff's call sounds like it's name, and the willow warbler is a decending warbled trill repeated often.
They can be observed flitting about the trees looking for insects, only stopping to give out their call, then it's back looking for food.bearing in mind that they have just flown10-11000 km 6-7000miles, brought up a family, and fly the same distance back to Africa. Migrant birds from Scandinavia and many Scottish breeders are brown and white, away from the normal olive and yellow, so you have your work cut out in identification. You will not have these birds at you nut or table feeder, as they well prefer the countryside, but you never know, if you have a few small trees in your garden, there always a possibility that one day they may stip for a quick snack,so keep looking.

Norrie Mulholland.


First Published in the Buteman. 01-06-2007.




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