Tuesday, 28 January 2014


Monday 27/01/14.

A rare day off and a trip to Kent with Bill Last for two of arguably the prettiest Leaf Warbler's there are. A Pallas's Leaf Warbler in Folkstone and a long staying 'Is it, ain't it' Hume's Leaf Warbler in Ramsgate Cemetery.



First stop was the Pallas's Warbler, it was located in a small wood in Folkstone and the actual site was a little difficult to find. Parking on Horn Street by the cottages just past the junction of Underhill Road and taking the footpath South East along the footpath towards West Road. The wood was on a steep slope and the going was very wet underfoot. Four other birders were onsite and we were greeted with the usual "It was showing really well 20 mins ago".



The site has tall Pine trees and we were surprised to find out that the bird was frequenting the tops of these. It was a neck breaking two hours before we had secured good views of the bird. The best viewing is up on the top of the bank with your back against the barracks fence. This brings you almost up to the level of the trees. After leading us a merry dance with fleeting glimpses, it finally dropped out of the Pines and rushed around a Sycamore giving us great views. The wood was dark, the bird was fast and the Sun was not playing ball. The photos I did obtain are simply record shots. There are some really nice photos of the bird and some more directions here http://www.freewebs.com/folkestonebirds/



On to Ramsgate and the Hume's Leaf Warbler. Parking in the entrance to the Cemetery, off Cecila Road, just East of the junction with Dumpton Park Road. We entered the cemerety expecting the bird to be quite easy. The truth was it was far from it. Reports have always said "Showing well" and "Calling" but on this occasion the bird was doing neither. However, we did have the pleasure of the incessant calling of Ring-necked Parakeets.

After a couple of hours we had had no success. Not a whiff of a sighting and not a whisper of the diagnostic call. After @rbnUK on twitter shared a very nice video of the bird with Lee Evans and I, it was clear the bird was indeed a Hume's Leaf Warbler and not a Yellow Browed Warbler as first thought. I can honestly see why it was first reported as YBW as it is on the brighter side for a Hume's and the duller side for a YBW. While waiting we did have two flyover Ravens and are very interested to hear if these were rare for the area?.
After much walking around and a few phone calls to friends for insider location details, we decided to take one more walk behind the Chaple in the avenue of Pines. Halfway down the avenue my attention was taken by a distant Pine on the Western boundary. A fleeting glimpse of a tiny bird fly catching and returning to the perch it left before flitting off again. I shouted, well shouted is probably a little exaggerated, anyhow I got Bill's attention and no doubt his blood racing, and we were off.
So pleased to find the tiny fleeting glimpse was indeed what I thought it was and indeed the bird we had spent a lot of time looking for. Eventually the bird started to call which was a delight to hear and would have helped us locate it in the first place.


Finishing off with another Raven photograph fairly similar to the first. Some days with all the best will in the world, its difficult to get the stunning images we are all after. Light, weather, distance, the type of bird all play a big part. That to me this is what is so great about photography. You never know what images you will get if any and how they will turn out.



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