Friday, June 20, 2008

Melodious Warbler - Jackhouse Reservoir, Oswaldtwistle, Lancs - 20th June 2008.

A day of mixed feelings began from mid-morning with a real sense of personal disappointment as the grim dawn of realisation set in that Myself and others assembled at the site in the early morning had failed to realise the Hippolais Warbler singing and showing well was in fact a Melodious Warbler and not an Icterine Warbler as assumed the day before.

Despite some mumblings and thoughts amongst those gathered that the primary projection did appear short and the leg colour appeared brownish, it seems that birders, Myself included, were 'blinkered' by the obvious wing panel and the identification was not questioned until later in the morning when Gavin Thomas enquired if anyone had queried the ID. As a result, phone calls were made, research of available literature, study of available photos and some soul-searching by several of those assembled earlier began in earnest!
The bird shows an obvious secondary panel, unusual for a spring Melodious, but confirmation of the short primary length, six evenly spaced primary tips, primaries being only 1/2-2/3 tertial length, and brownish, not blue/grey leg colour visible in the photos kindly emailed to me were the most damning, undeniable pro-Melodious features.
Buoyed by the fact I was now satisfied with my own conclusion that the bird was indeed a Melodious, a degree of contentment descended as the afternoon wore on. Indeed, it was refreshing to do some serious reading on the two species, something I have not done for quite a number of years. But all in all, another harsh, self inflicted, but ultimately rewarding learning curve and salutory lesson to take on board and move on! - Great bird!
UPDATE, 21st June: Bird trapped and ringed at c05:15. This in my view was completely unneccessary as the ID was no longer in doubt.