Monday, 28 May 2012

River Warbler in Maridalen

At 11pm last night I decided to give Maridalen a try for any nocturnal singers even though I was exhausted from the camping trip. It was still light when I got there and Fieldfares (gråtrost) and Robins (rødstrupe) were still singing but they soon became quiet. At one stop as I wound down the car window I thought I heard a Grasshopper Warbler (gresshoppesanger) but soon realised it was the fan in the car. At the church ruins I walked up to be able to hear further and through some noisy Common (strandsnipe) and Green Sandpipers (skogsnipe) (they always seem to make a racket just before it gets dark) I was convinced there was a “reeling” sound coming from the marsh. I walked closer and yes there was! But this was not the reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler this was the sewing machine noise of a River Warbler (elvesanger). Another national rarity!!
I was able to get close to the bird in the dark and record its song but had no chance of seeing it. I put out the news and Per Christan came down straight away. We listened to a couple of recordings of River Warbler and became a bit worried that this bird was singing too quickly but on getting home I found there is actually a good deal of variation in the speed at which they sing.
I went to sleep with the sound of River Warbler in my ears and was awake again before 4am and found myself driving up to see if I could get a picture. The bird was still singing and I could see it flitting deep in the bushes but taking a picture was more difficult. In the still poor light this was the best I managed:
River Warbler -  a small brown bird with a long tail!

The video though at least allows you to hear the amazing song which is the most distinctive aspect to this rather dull looking bird. At the end of the video you also get to see the shadow of the bird!

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