Blyth’s Reed Warbler

Tricksy Acro gets there in the end!

End of day 6th October 2010. Brydon rings me. “Any news from Unst?”. Yea Brydon –ITS A LANCY!!” Various near-expletives from Brydon and congrats. We had left Brydon and James McCallum on Fetlar to try and nail our so far unidentified pallid acro with the groovy super(cilium) at Aith.

Brydon rejoined-  “and do want some good news? Its a BLYTH’S REED WARBLER!!

So ends a remarkable day. Up the next morning we all agree we wanted to see the Aith Acro again, and properly, for ourselves. We had a little time before the ferry, so headed to Skaw and enjoyed the Lanceolated Warbler in sunshine with grateful twitchers. We then headed for the ferry. As we left Baltasound I noticed the large form and slightly undulating flight of ‘big finch’ flying past the minibus. Slammed brakes on as it dived in some garden Rosa rugosa. All jumped out just in time as a HAWFINCH exited from the garden and carried on north. One of the group in view of our island of choice, gave us our own team moniker: UNSToppable!

3 Long-tailed Ducks from the ferry and we we were soon at Aith, Fetlar. Thankfully this time the warbler showed much better. First perched out on wall and fence line and then at closer range amoung the docks. My own regret? I don’t think it was identifiable on day one – least not for me. But I do wish I had the tenacity to ‘go back’ the next day. To stay with it until the ID was more fully resolved.

Here is is. Lovely bronzy wing patch subtly contrasting with cold sandy upperparts. Rather shortish primary projection. Tertial centres on the bird did not look especially dark centred -though bit more so than some BRW’s- perhaps slightly exaggerated in the profile shots. Rather whitish underparts with some colour on lower flanks and even in the vent – not deeply pigmented like most Reed Warblers. Didn’t call.

If any one has other photos of the bird – I’d be keen to see them

Blyth’s Reed Warbler. Aith, Fetlar 7th October 2010

Blyth’s Reed Warbler. Aith, Fetlar 7th October 2010

Blyth’s Reed Warbler. Aith, Fetlar 7th October 2010

Blyth’s Reed Warbler. Aith, Fetlar 7th October 2010

We then worked Funzie and Tresta notching up young Turtle Dove, several Whinchat and Yellow-browed Warbler. A late Sand Martin was a surprise

juvenile-1st winter Turtle Dove. Tresta, Fetlar, 7th October 2010

Back on Unst we picked up a Yellow-browed Warbler in flight from the minibus – spicing up the birding! The 2 Little Buntings, Hornemann’s Redpoll and a bunch of Greenland Redpoll at Norwick.

As the sun began to set, Paul picked up a calling Richard’s Pipit coming up from Norwick beach. Unstoppable!

2 thoughts on “Blyth’s Reed Warbler

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