Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hume's at Beachy

Hume's Leaf Warbler, 12/1/08 Beachy Head

Yellow-browed Warbler - Bempton, Oct07

A superbly bright morning at Beachy Head, the main goal for the day to see and photograph the Hume's Leaf Warbler that has been present in Horseshoe Plantation (Belle Tout Wood) for the past week or so. It was great to be back at Beachy Head - a place that I watched infrequently in the late 90's. On arrival we bumped into local birders Peter and Miriam who we had not seen for several years - great to catch up folks!

The bird showed for over three hours whilst we were present, often at very close range and at ground level, the main problem for photography being the lack of light in the wood and the fact the bird was extremely active.

Although superficially resembling a Yellow-browed Warbler, this species is greyer, only has a single wing bar (greater coverts) and calls very differently with a more Greenish Warbler like 'chee- wee' (two part) call with the emphasis on the first note. The bird was frequently calling in this manner but was also giving a Yellow-browed like single note at times but importantly this lacked the slurred quality of YBW and the characteristic upward rising note at the end.

Although I would struggle to call this bird attractive, it is nevertheless an interesting species which only twenty years ago would largely have been overlooked and certainly not assigned to species status. A triumpth for modern day birding and worth a look - if not as a reminder, to be banked for the day we hopefully find one at Buckton!

I have posted a picture of a Yellow-browed Warbler above from Bempton in October 07 for direct comparison.

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