Country corner

Sedge warbler
Sedge warbler

Once more we are indebted to local naturalist Abbie Marland for this week’s picture of her neighbouring Sedge Warbler, which arrived home from Africa on Easter Sunday “and has been singing louder each day since!”

Personally, I am not a great expert on the warbler clan as they can be a bit tricky for a layman naturalist like me.

Firstly, they are mostly found and identified by their songs, often without ever seeing the bird as it skulks in heavy cover.

Secondly several warbler species are green and leaf shaped, which makes them all very similar and tricky to differentiate as they hop around in foliage.

Thankfully some, like the Sedge Warbler, are sufficiently distinctive for even me to recognise!

Being loud and vocal and often singing from a prominent perch helps.

Also the Sedge Warbler, with its streaks and stripes, is not at all leaf-like.

As if to ensure even the most visually impaired naturalist can name the bird, it has a pale buff streak above its eye which looks very much like the seed of a sedge.

In fact, this bird and the Grasshopper Warbler are my favourite warblers for all the above reasons of ease of identity.

I suspect this bird must have been far more common before we got so good at draining the land.

Certainly I see it less than I did years ago, but that applies to most bird species.

What I can tell you about the Sedge Warbler is that I never recall hearing one that didn’t root me to the spot for several minutes to enjoy the sheer enthusiasm of its song!

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