Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Dartford Warbler, Stanground Wash

A most unexpected find and an unusual location. I check out the Sewage Works and outfall here for Green Sandpipers and Grey Wagtails and always take a look at the washland opposite where Short-eared and Barn Owl are regular as well as Stonechats and the like. What I didn't expect was what looked like a brown Long-tailed Tit bouncing towards me through the vegetation along the River Nene. As it passed just below me I couldn't quite believe I was having point blank views of a Dartford Warbler. The bird stayed on the bank next to me for a while but typically, just as I went for the camera, it flew to the far side of the opposite river bank and gave me 20 nerve racking minutes before Steve Dudley caught a brief glimpse then I saw it again in the middle of the wash. Views were more distant but I was extremely relieved that there was something for the arriving hoards to see. It showed well enough to provide these record shots, most of which were taken at long range or in low light.

This is the 270th species for the PBC area and there are also no other records for Huntingdonshire. There are two other Old Cambs records, neither of which were twitchable - one from 1870 at Great Abingdon and one in a garden in Cherry Hinton in February 2001.

Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata

Pushing the limits of digiscoping with the Nikon CP995, Leica APO77 and 32x eyepiece.

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