Friday, 26 August 2011

GRASSHOPPER WARBLER



Škocjanski zatok NR: after the early morning bird census I decided to check once again the hedges by the main path (at about 10.30am). The most numerous were Garden Warblers (10-15 birds in total) hopping up and down, along with a few Nightingales, some Blackcaps, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 WRYNECK (probably always the same bird) and 7 Reed Warblers. But then I noticed a different bird, sitting on a branch in the thick of the high bushes, but still in perfect view. It was a nice GRASSHOPPER WARBLER; probably an immature, with streaky breast, head, neck and back. Also the undertail coverts were black-streaked and the tail was typically "thick" and rounded like that of a Savi's Warbler. It remained on that branch in good view for about 2 minutes (sometimes preeening) and then disappeared into the thick cover again.

This is actually the first time I SEE a Grasshopper Warbler... I have heard it several times in the past years, but never had the occasion to watch it properly. Despite not being a very rare bird here, it's still quite scarce and most of all: elusive to see. Usually is caught in the nets, rather than being watched in the field.

Other interesting records today included: several Pygmy Cormorants, the 2 CATTLE EGRETS, 1 juv Purple Heron, 1 juv SPOONBILL, 9 Shoverels, 76 Teals, 4 female Garganeys, 1 male Pochard, 2 MARSH HARRIERS (1 juv + 1 male - migrants), 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 singing Water Rail, 1 remaining Black-winged Stilt, 1 Curlew, 32 Common Sandpipers, 16 Greenshanks, 3 Wood Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers, 4 Snipes, 2 Kingfishers, 6 Yellow Wagtails (overhead), 2 Nightingales, 6 Whinchats (on the grazing field), 3 Fan-tailed Warblers, 4 Cetti's Warblers, 1 female Pied Flycatcher and 2 Spotted Flycatchers.

Photo above: Grasshopper Warbler by Steve Round