Not so common
Today, I returned to the strip for my morning constitutional. I was soon tracking birds around the edge of the car park, with Linnet, that were strangely absent on Wednesday, now showing well.
At the bottom of the car park, I turned to the right, off the main coastal path. There is a track here that runs parallel with the path. This track passes through a short corridor of scrub, before rejoining the path. Just as i entered this corridor, there was a movement in a bush to my right, that caused me to stop. Scanning the bush, it was not long before a small bird popped into view, albeit, very briefly, before slipping back into the cover of the dense undergrowth. That brief view however, revealed a Whitethroat peering straight at me. Although my view was brief, I knew straight away, that something was different about this Whitethroat. It was distinctly grey backed, with no sign of the warm brown tones of a Common Whitethroat. Added to that was the way it held itself. It was as if it was trying to flatten itself down at all times. Skulking was definitely the term that came to mind.
Soon the bird was on the move, and a game of cat and mouse ensued. Up and down the corridor, and along the scrub at the back of the car park. More glimpses of the bird, but my ability to track it was greatly aided by the bird calling each time it settled in a leafy palace. This was a call that I had never heard before. I went to great pains to memorise that call, even writing down my version of it. I am familiar with the sounds of Common Whitethroat, and I certainly had not heard one make this call.
Eventually the bird moved deeper into the bushes, and switched to silent mode, so I moved on, although not before I noted the ongoing presence of Greenfinch, as seen on Wednesday. On my way back, following a walk along to the back of Lime Kiln beach, I paused in the fruitful corner, but nothing more was produced.
Arriving back home, I was straight onto the computer to check the bird call. I confirmed that it was nothing like a Common Whitethroat, before playing the call of the bird I suspected it to be. It was instantly recognisable, and the final piece of irrefutable evidence that my bird was
126. Lesser Whitethroat
A fine addition to my patch list, and the first Lesser Whitethroat that I have seen on dry land, with my previous two sightings of this species having been seen in recent years offshore, where there are less bushes for them to hide in.
Last edited by Gander : Friday 8th May 2020 at 15:50.