Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Sedgie Bomb

Of all the local spots I go birding, it's probably true to say that Cogden has become my favourite. There may be better - certainly West Bex has more habitat variety and an enviable track record - but Cogden endears itself to me like nowhere else. And not just because it's been kind to me - although I expect that helps. Really there are lots of reasons, but maybe that's for another time. Anyway, there was no debate about this morning's choice of venue, and I was only an hour late getting there...

Before I started this post I thought I ought to check how many local Sedge Warblers I saw last year. The pathetic answer appears to be seven, all in autumn, and only two of them at Cogden. I knew the total would be small, but not that small! However, it does give some extra context to this morning's events.

As in 2020 I saw nil Sedge Warblers this spring. My first of the year was a single bird at Cogden last week, and this morning was my first pre-breakfast visit since then. Initially it felt very quiet, so I was well chuffed when a gentle pish by a seemingly dead patch of scrub next to the coast path produced two Sedge Warblers. And so it went on. Sedge Warblers popping out everywhere. By the time I'd finished, my notes looked like this:

Sedge Warbler 2, 1, 1, 5, 5, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2 (25)
Willow Warbler 1, 2, 1
Painted Lady 2, 1

Twenty-five Sedgies! By 2020's pitiful standards that's more than three years' worth! I do realise that Sedge Warbler is a common bird, and in the right habitat can be abundant on passage, but, just WOW! One of the things I have really come to appreciate about local birding is what a massive buzz even common birds can sometimes provide.

Sedge Warbler coming to investigate the source of that annoying noise.

As the photos suggest, the reedbed was especially well stuffed with Sedgies. I thoroughly enjoyed myself with these common birds, and only in the darkest recesses of my ungrateful mind was there any mention of Aquatic Warbler. Mind you, wouldn't that be something?!!

In the meantime, long live the Unexpected Influx of Common Migrants!

Painted Lady on teasel

This Banded Demoiselle seemed a bit out of place on the beach. Nice though.

By this date last year I had seen all seven of the juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls I tallied in 2020. This year I have seen precisely none. So when a small group of gulls just offshore revealed a juvenile without a pale inner-primary window I was straight on the case. Unfortunately it appeared to be a juv Lesser Black-backed Gull. I momentarily considered getting closer to confirm for sure, but found I couldn't actually be bothered. Hmmm... Should I worry...?


  1. So. Regarding a comment beneath one of your pics, "Sedge Warbler coming to investigate the source of that annoying noise". Have you been pishing of late perchance? Haha, I hope so buddy! (Also, we're all keenly awaiting the infamous 'Haig Pish' on spectrogram, you do know that, right?) The big question being, did you pish at all last year? Early dates would suggest you were dealing with adult (=jaded) birds in 2020. But juv birds love a good pish-up. I'm interested to see where this leads.

    1. Yes indeed, pish I did. And both Sedge and Reed Warblers were quick to respond. Pishing has been part of my birding toolkit for more years than I care to think about, but it's fair to say that I find myself birding bushy, scrubby habitat more often these days, with a consequent increase in my use of it. Results have always been very variable though, so perhaps I'm just getting better at it than I used to be?

      Are you suggesting a spectrographic, qualitative analysis of the Haig pish, with annotated diagrams and a little spectrovid?

      Ain't gonna happen! 😄