Friday 9 October 2020

Herr Schwarzi

Well I was supposed to be en route to Cape Clear Island, Cork for my annual autumn birding holiday but sadly Covid has taken care of that. It never really looked likely though, so it seemed appropriate to be seeing a bird today that I last saw in Cork (specifically in 2007 on the Old Head of Kinsale). That bird being Radde's Warbler. The species is named after one Gustav Radde who accompanied Professor Ludwig Schwarz on the East Siberian Expedition of 1855. Radde's Warbler's scientific name is Phylloscopus Schwarzi.    

Mid-morning I drove down to the charming town of Southwold on the Suffolk coast. When I arrived the bird had been missing for at least an hour. The wind had picked up and although this bird had been showing well, the species is notoriously skulking so I was starting to worry a little. My views of the bird in Cork were just about tickable so I really hoped for better. And I wasn't to be disappointed. As is often the case, just wait patiently. I positioned myself close to where it had first been seen and set up my camera up on the tripod. After an hour the bird passed my way and fed down low at the base of a small Tamarisk. A small group enjoyed excellent views down to within twenty feet for about a minute before it moved on.


                                                Radde's Warbler - Southwold, Suffolk - 9th October 2020

And as it moved on, in case we were in any doubt as to its identification, it gave us all a quick flash of its arse, showing that apricot vent to full effect.

                                         Radde's Warbler, Southwold, Suffolk - 9th October 2020

I hung around for another hour, I had one shot that was tantalisingly close to being as good as you could hope for in this species but a frond just blocked the cruel!

Radde's Warbler, Southwold, Suffolk - 9th October 2020

Back at the carpark another birder told me of a rather obliging Purple Sandpiper at the end of the pier. He wasn't wrong there.

                                                Purple Sandpiper, Southwold, Suffolk - 9th October 2020

Time was running out and I needed to get back, but another birder got me onto this striking looking 1st Winter Caspian Gull. A very upright, long-legged and long-necked Gull and well worth a good look.


1st Winter Caspian Gull - Southwold, Suffolk - 9th October 2020


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