Aqualate - 14 Aug 16

At Aqualate today one (or more) Sedge Warblers were giving good views, just in front of the hide.

A basic view of Sedge Warbler with the strong head pattern obvious. Just to confuse matters the plant it is clinging to is a reed – ‘sedges have edges’.

As the bird turns we can see the pale brown edges to quite dark brown feathers on the back, more contrasting than on Reed Warbler. It seems to be reaching for food – reed-bed aphids are an important food source with birds more than doubling their body weight ahead of migration.

In close-up here: note the long middle toe.

A somewhat better posed shot but it does not show the long toe to such good effect.

Looking alert.

And here looking rather benign. Note the quite short bill – and the mosquito hiding away.

In contrast here is a Chiffchaff. A smaller and less robust bird with a proportionally longer and thinner bill. This bird show almost no supercilium and this is the best was to separate it from Willow Warbler in this shot. I real life the bird was dipping its tail continually – a feature of Chiffchaffs. It was also calling which always helps.

While this is a very poor photo it is worth showing here to highlight the salient points of Reed Warbler. It is browner than Chiffchaff and while it shares a weak supercilium both are quite different from the strong head pattern shown by Sedge Warbler. Note too, when compared with Chiffchaff, the Reed Warbler’s longer and stronger bill on a rather sloping forehead.

Would not be Aqualate without a showy Kingfisher. No idea about the white mark on the cheek.

No mistaking this silhouette: Common Swift. Most have already gone but this was one of a late party of half a dozen passing through.
Seems no reason for the swifts to leave – there are plenty of midges around they could hoover up: this was the view looking a few feet above my head”.

(Ed Wilson)