Sunday 7 January 2018

A visitor to Shangri-La

Well I didn't expect to find myself peering into the garden of the Shangri-la cottage at Waxham in early January - I usually reserve this particular activity for Spring or Autumn. However, a report yesterday of a Hume's Warbler was too good to miss. I haven't seen Hume's up to now - dipped on a few alright - so I had to make the effort.
However, I wasn't too optimistic after seeing the words..... 'tho elusive', 'very mobile' and 'heard calling'. What's more I expected a bit of crowd too.
Yet, when I arrived there were maybe ten birders on site and most had already seen the bird with the last sighting only ten minutes before I arrived. I found a sheltered spot in the sun on the edge of the garden and waited. After twenty minutes or so a small bird flew into the hawthorn above me and gave a call that to me sounded like a disyllabic version of Yellow-browed Warbler - that must be it. However, it didn't hang around and immediately bombed off into the thick trees at the rear of the garden.
Anyway to cut along story short, it was calling from time to time and that was the best way to locate it. Eventually we pinned it down to a favourite area (basically at the back of the garden viewed with your back to the sea looking in from the narrow path). It mostly fed down low or amongst the Celandines (I think that's what they are) and occasionally popped up onto a low branch. It is exactly as described in the literature - like a dull Yellow-browed Warbler, the call is similar to YBW but to me appears to lack the second, middle syllable.
The bird was very active and difficult to photograph but I did manage a couple of shots - backlit and high ISO but still happy enough with them.

Hume's Warbler, Waxham, Norfolk


  1. Heard and fleetingly seen today. Not a birdwatcher but my.partner realised it was a new call to him. Then saw a couple of serious watchers very pleased with themselves who educated us as to the owner of the call. Lovely part of a great walk

    1. Glad you got to see it - I was waiting years to see Hume's Warbler. Well done to you!