Two-Barred Greenish Warbler finders account

On Saturday 16th October, I was just about to make myself a coffee and contemplating relaxing in the Observatory Garden for a while, when a radio message came through regarding a Yellow-browed Warbler by Pallas’s Pond. I still hadn’t seen one this year, so eventually wandered down with my coffee, but alas there was no sign. I checked the Warren area, then 20 minutes later, another message said it was in Canal hedge, so I quickly wandered up that way.

Not finding any other observers, as I walked through a Goldcrest drew my attention to it’s location, as I’ve seen these two species together so many times. I stood in the small clearing and suddenly a small warbler, landed facing me, eight feet away. Lifting my binoculars, straight away I realised this was no Yellow-browed Warbler - he flared supercilium behind the eye was wrong. It turned slightly away and I knew what I was looking at. Swearing under my breath, heart fluttering somewhat as adrenalin kicked in.

I picked up my radio within seconds of seeing it and panickily radioed out that a Two-barred Greenish Warbler was in Canal hedge, not knowing that this had been the bird in question. Equal panic ensued from those arriving on the scene, trying to get their first view of this first for Spurn. I would love to tell you that I had looked through the few clinching features, before radioing it out, but no it was purely on, “well it just looks like one”. The best feature, of course, being the two obvious wing bars, the greater covert wing bar, being a long and broad almost rectangular block, while the bill was deep and strong. The bird unfortunately did not give its distinctive call that evening but did so the following morning, as it put on another good showing for a large appreciative crowd.

Adam Hutt

This is the first record for Spurn and the 401st species on the Spurn list (after the Subalpine Warbler split pushed us to 400). Congratulations to Brian Pepper who had pulled this species out of a sweepstake for the '400th' species back in 2018, following our 399th species, Dusky Thrush, that autumn.



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Posted: 18 October 2021

Two-Barred Greenish Warbler finders account