Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Long Journey

I spotted it first in the budding willow that sits above the stream, where it passes under the road.  It was the flitting movement to my left that caught my eye.  It wasn't the usual movement of a Blue Tit or Chaffinch, the birds I would regularly see in that area, it was quicker and more graceful.  I stopped and scanned the branches, and then I spotted it: the first warbler of the year.  My heart always skips a beat when I see the first migratory bird, a bird that will have flown thousands of miles, just to come and nest, and rear young, in my area.  Many humans think that they are so superior to the other species that inhabit this planet, but could you imagine a human managing to travel 3000 miles, without a compass or map, and managing to arrive back in the country of their birth?  Most of us would be lost after the first one hundred miles.

My view of the warbler was all too short, as he quickly flew across the lane, through the spiky hawthorn hedge and into an area of scrubland that grows alongside the stream.  My view of him was so brief that I didn't even get a definite identification, but I am pretty sure that it was a Willow Warbler, a delightful yellow-tinged little bird, that weighs only 10 grams.  This bird is unusual in that it moults twice a year, once in its over wintering area and once in its summer home.   The experts aren't sure why this happens, but it might be due to the extremely long migratory journey that it makes.  

It has been two days since I spotted it, and I have had no views since.  The weather has turned colder and much more windy, with winds once again in the region of 50 miles an hour.  I do so hope that he, or she, makes it through this snap of rough weather: after such a long journey it would be a tragedy if it didn't.


  1. Done a lot of stone work in the Pwllheli area at one time never did see a heron though. not that I would have noticed if I saw one anyway. much to busy in them days making bread for the table.
    I hope you get to photograph the warbler. I have a few on my birdinginegypt. blogspot.com they are not the easiest of birds to shoot only time and patience will get a good result. like the Clamorous reed warbler , Acrocephalus stentoureus
    this took two hours to get a good photo. and was making a noise like it was teasing me. living up to its name.

  2. The Herons are down in the reed beds not far from the harbour along the same road as Lidl's (for anyone who would like to see them). They are in the trees right next to the road so used to humans.

    Unfortunately, I doubt very much that I will manage a shot of a warbler until I have the finances to purchase a longer lens. I only have a 70-300mm at the moment and they are so quick and shy that I never get close enough.

  3. Always exciting to see the first of our spring arrivals. I'm lucky here to see and hear so many each day. I'm sure you'll get your pictures soon Kerry.


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I live in North Wales and spend my time caring for animals, walking in the countryside, photographing nature and reading. I hope to share, in photographs and words, some of the beauty that I see. If you enjoy the photographs on this blog then you might like to take a look at my Flickr photostream. View my complete profile for links to both of my blogs.