Sunday, 21 May 2017

Eastern Subalpline Warbler at Dawlish Warren

Eastern Subalpline Warbler (first view)
A tough place to bird but rewarding 
Eastern Subalpline Warbler 
Local Devon birders
Key ID features
Meeting up with Wilson
Juvenile Stonechats
Land of the Dartfords
Dartford Warbler

Agenda on day 2 was going to see the Dartford Warblers however this changed as I was taking a couple of photos of the House Martins in Lyme Regis. Within a minute I got three different message SUBALPINE WARBLER - DAWLISH WARREN. Within minutes the postcode was entered in the satnav and I was heading west. The journey was trouble free and parking was easy (£3.60 for 3 hours).

The directions said east of main path, no knowing the reserve that well I'd planned to just look for other twitchers but didn't have any idea whether it would be a 5 or a 40 minute walk. As I edged towards the visitor centre I saw a small group of birders all looking up towards my direction. Picking up there line of sight there was the Eastern Subapline Warbler singing in a less scratchy tone than a Whitethroat high in the scrubery. I quickly snapped a couple of handheld images after watching in the scope. How easy was that ! (6th lifer of 2017, first since February)

Next job was to refind it as the bird had gone to ground. I headed round to where it was originally found and after another 50 minutes it re-appeared giving stunning scope views. It was much whiter than expected but it's throat was very rich and dark red with a blue & grey on top and a striking white sun-moustachial stripe. The bird was very striking and a real buzz to see so well.

Timing was prefect as I'd then arranged to meet cousin Sara & new dog Wilson for a short walk and a hot chocolate. We had a nice walk and quick catch up before heading off in different directions. 

My destination would be Aylesbeare Common Nature Reserve where I had to struggle for an hour before finally finding three Dartford Warbler (plenty of Stonechats including young. 

Quite a day, which was celebrated with the customary Coldplay in the car and a fine Itialian meal with a couple of local ciders. 

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