Friday, 11 May 2012

Mission Cetti

And now for the ultimate challenge.....to photograph a Cetti's Warbler. Cetti's Warblers are gradually becoming more common and their shrill song can often be heard from a long distance. However, seeing them is another matter. Once you have got them pinned down they can sing from just 10 yards away and never to be seen or, if you are lucky, just a glimpse of the bird shuffling around in deep cover. On the rare occasions that they show themselves you have just a few seconds to take a shot, assuming of course that you have a camera at the ready.

When I arrived at the Amwell viewpoint I was distracted by the resident Whitethroat which once again was posing, this time in amongst some Rape which added a bit of colour to the shot. Also in front of the viewpoint a Stock Dove flew in for a drink. Is it just me or does anyone else think that the subtley-coloured Stock Dove is a grossly under-rated bird? Unfortunately, you can't see the bright red legs on this one.




Anyway, now on to the business at hand. There are a few Cetti's Warblers at Amwell distributed around the various reedbeds, but most are inaccessible. The bird that is close to public access and could show itself to a camera is the one holding territory next to the boardwalk by the Bittern Pool. I stood on the boardwalk and could hear it singing intermittently but not enough to pin it down. I therefore left it for a while and went for a walk up the lane.

When I returned it was singing quite frequently but had now moved to the south of the boardwalk ie between the boardwalk and the James Hide. I quickly made my way up to the upper hide so that I could look down on the area in question. I was soon able to pin it down to a pile of brash next to the fence. The bird eventually appeared but was obscured by a number of branches.


Then unbelievably, the bird broke cover and flew out onto a branch and gave a quick burst of song, before disappearing back into the undergrowth. Although my camera was poised and ready I only managed a few shots in the couple of seconds available. In the category of "challenging", these are surely my best shots so far.




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