Friday, 14 May 2010

Twitch

Such excitement this morning. Yesterday, Malcolm and I noticed a group of 'Twitchers' crowding around one end of a lake near Straw's Bridge. They were all intent on searching a small reed bed and you could hear there was a bird singing from deep within the reeds. I thought the song belonged to a Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) (rare in Britain) as it sounded rather like an 'ordinary' Reed Warbler, but MUCH louder. Getting home, I found a sound file of a Great Reed Warbler and was able to confirm that was indeed what it was. So, this morning we walked that way again, and I took a small pair of binoculars with me in the hope the bird was still there. Luckily, it was still there, as were the twitchers, and we stood a while looking for the elusive little chap.
It was very frustrating as the bird was singing from deep within the reeds and was not keen to be seen, but perseverance paid off and, there it was. Another one ticked off my list!
Here is a video of a Great Reed Warbler (not my video, but one found elsewhere on the web) in case you don't know what they look - and sound - like.
Great Reed Warblers do not breed in Britain, preferring to stay on the continent after returning each summer from their African wintering grounds. A few stragglers do turn up in Britain each summer, overshooting their normal breeding grounds, but this is the first one ever to be recorded in Derbyshire.
Excitement over for the moment, lets turn to a smaller creature which I found clinging to our patio doors yesterday. Looking like a small, green mosquito, it is actually a non-biting Chironomid Midge.
A shrub which is well known to most gardeners, is the Lilac (Syringa vulgaris). Here, seen flowering in a hedgerow around the Golf Course close to where the Great Reed Warbler was singing.
A member of the same family which includes the Olive tree, it is native to South-Eastern Europe and Asia and has a wonderful perfume as well as stunningly coloured flowers.
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