Getting to know the warbler

The song of the willow warbler and the endless chiff chaffing of the chiffchaff are a constant woodland sound from first to last light.
The song of the willow warbler and the endless chiff chaffing of the chiffchaff are a constant woodland sound from first to last light.

We are all familiar with the starlings and sparrows of this world, even those of us who could not name them.

However, there is an invisible family of birds which thrive in every woodland you may walk through without you ever seeing them.

Warblers, like this willow warbler and the very similar chiffchaff, though mainly absent in winter, are abundant in summer woodlands.

Their sounds are everywhere.

The song of the willow warbler and the endless chiff chaffing of the chiffchaff are a constant woodland sound from first to last light.

Being leaf-shaped and green, these birds are collectively known as leaf warblers. However, their resemblance to leaves makes them no easier to spot.

Not to worry, in our speedy, hectic and stressed world, the warblers are here to teach us a lesson.

The way to see warblers is to get into a wood and stop, stand and listen.

First you will become aware of the background sounds of bird song and calls.

Then your eye will be drawn towards the nearest of these.

You will not see a bird, just a mass of leafy branches!

Keep listening and staring until a bit of a bird is glimpsed, perhaps a tail, or if you are lucky a head.

Be patient, be still, become engulfed in all around you.

Allow all your stresses and concerns to fall away.

Suddenly, there is a warbler! But if not, there is always another in the next tree.

If not, don’t worry, the experience will have done you a great deal of good. George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management