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.
- 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.