Friday, 11 January 2013

Early or is it late birds

I had arranged to take Mike to Cardiff to pick up his anti-malaria tablets ( 11 days to go ) and agreed to meet him by the Navigation pub in Abercynon at 11am.
I was a little early and had noticed a small bird perched on top of a fir tree opposite behind the church and was looking through binoculars as Mike turned up. He had a quick look but we decided a scope would be needed.
The bird had a grey head and nape, reddish brown back, white throat and a thin dark eye stripe which got wider behind the eye and very thin bill all pointing to Lesser Whitethroat which was a bit of a shock at this time of year. Mike went to get the camera and as is nearly always the case the bird flew off up the valley.
After picking up the tablets in Superdrug in Roath we went down to Ogmore for the Bonaparte's Gull ( a lifer for Mike ) which was located very easily and give us superb views swimming back and fro along the river.


  1. What Phill didn't mention was that the bird was continually calling; wheet - wheet- wheet. The call sounded 'feeble' was even tempo with just a small space between each phrase. I've never heard that call before so checked when I got home, after reciting it all the way to Cardiff and back. It's definite lesser white throat, probably 'halimodendri' if past glam winter records are to go on, honest, you can trust me, honest hogan. There was also a frog under the car.

  2. Spent the morning on VC42 webs. Rechecked 'Warblers of Europe Asia and N America' when I got back and the only Lesser Whitetroat i could find with that call is Sylvia carruca althaea or Humes Lesser Whitethroat. It winters in Iran,India and Pakistan which is a long way east. The citation from the Helm guide states; In S. c. althaea song is brief, but clear ringing warble tru-tru-tru-ee, tru-eee, not unlike song of a Blackcap in quality and quite unlike that of other species of Lesser Whitethroat. CALL NOTE is a melodious wheet wheet and scolding churr. I just hope it hangs around.