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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Wonderful Warblers

Bird Hide Net
Today, my friend John invited me to Bude Marshes to see him set up the first mist nets of the season. He was there at dawn, but I did not arrive until a much more civilised time of 8:45am.

He had set up two nets; one of 3 x 60 feet in the western reed bed near the Tourist Information Centre, the other 3 x 40 feet in a dogleg in the middle reed bed adjacent to the bird hide. I arrived just as he was about
to check the first net where we found an abandoned piece of chicken. It had obviously been scavenged from a bin as there was a curry coating on it. The unfortunate bird must have hit the net, left its meal and flown away. Probably a crow judging by the size of the mouth full it had given up.

Our second check was to the second net near the Bird hide where we found a Cetti's Warbler, the first that I know that I have seen. Like most Warblers, it is a nondescript little brown job; until you see it in the hand that is. It is a beautifully marked tiny bird. This one had been ringed before and we thought it had been injured. The ring, its leg and breast had a red substance on it. We could not identify it, no oily smell and definitely not blood but some substance that was drying on the bird's plumage. We noted its ring, measured its wing and weighed it before allowing it to fly off quite happily.

Sedge Warbler
The second and last bird was from net one, a Sedge Warbler. This one had made a real effort to become tangled in the net, but John's patient and experienced hands soon freed it easily and safely. Whilst observing this, I was aware off the strident, raucous call of two or three Cetti's Warblers that John pointed out to me. Although he had only rung five birds that morning, others were beginning to arrive in the reed beds. The Sedge Warbler is another beautifully marked tiny bird which after recording gnd ringing, John placed on my hand to allow it to fly away. A new experience for me and one which I appreciated very much.


After helping him to retrieve the nets and pack everything away we left with me silently promising myself that I would repeat the experience at the first opportunity and commit the call of the Cetti's Warbler to memory.

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