Garden Warbler

gardenwarblerbubbling10.00 a.m.: There’s a song that we don’t recognise in a bushy woodland glade on the nature trail at the Caphouse Colliery National Museum of Coal Mining. I try to come up with a visual metaphor to help me remember the song and the best that I can do is a bottle of sparkling mineral water, shaken up and then bubbling when opened then subsiding as it uses up its fizz; not very long and not with much of a pattern to the song.

I do a field sketch (above, colour added later): the bird has no distinct features, so not a blackcap or a whitethroat, and not a wood warbler, which is my first guess. It sings from amongst the foliage near the top of a tree.

It’s a garden warbler, described on the RSPB website (see link below) as:

‘a  very plain warbler with no distinguishing features (a feature in itself!)’

The Collins Bird Guide describes the song as ‘beautiful, 3-8 seconds . . . not forming any clear melody but shuttling irresolutely up and down: it sounds like a rippling brook.’

So my metaphor of a bottle of sparkling mineral water bubbling up briefly and subsiding as it loses its fizz, works well as an aide-mémoire.

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    1. I’m so pleased that with such an unfamiliar species, what birders call a ‘little brown job’, I got so near in my field notes to the description in the bird book.

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