Saturday, 4 May 2013

The Invisible LBJ

18th April 2013

LBJs or Little Brown Jobs are bad enough as it is, but when they shout at you whilst hidden in undergrowth they are even more frustrating. This really sums up that most elusive of birds, the Cetti's Warbler. There are normally up to five pairs at Amwell and they are easy to census due to their loud staccato song, which only lasts a couple of seconds but can be heard from the other side of the pit. But, although they loudly proclaim their presence they are rarely seen, or at least rarely seen well, due to their skulking behaviour deep in undergrowth.

Today I had nothing else on so I thought I would spend some time in the James Hide and try my luck at photographing the Cetti's that lives in the area. The downstairs part of the hide is best for bird photography as you are nearer the reed bed where the birds are likely to be seen and they are at eye-level. However, for Cetti's Warbler the upstairs is preferable as you really need to be able to look down into the undergrowth.

Not long after I arrived the bird called from the left hand side of the hide and I was able to track it working its way through a pile of brash. It flew across the ditch and worked its way along the base of the reed bed. It then went quiet for a while and when it called again, it was now on the right hand side of the hide. From here I watched it moving stealthily through the vegetation, frequently in view but always quite heavily obscured by a tangle of twigs and vegetation. However, after about an hour it did sit still for a few seconds in a gap in the undergrowth to allow me to get this shot. That took two hours in total but worth every minute.

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