Thursday, May 10, 2007

Grasshopper for lunch

Editor Kevin Wilmot writes:

Working in the edge-of-Fens outpost that is Peterborough does have its compensations, such as Ferry Meadows Country Park, just a couple of minutes' drive from the office.
This time of year, it's filled with the songs of warblers - Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and Whitethroats, with some Lesser Whitethroats and even a few Grasshopper Warblers, not that I'd ever seen one, let alone heard its reeling song.
It was to FM that Matt Merritt and I popped one lunchtime this week for an hour as the deadline for the June issue of Bird Watching loomed, to be greeted by very little of excitement on the two large lakes, but by the expected warblers in a delightful scrubby area hidden behind a children's play area.

Male Reed Bunting, by Mike Weedon (digiscope)

Blackcaps and Whitethroats were abundant, with plenty of Reed Buntings, tits and Robins... and then we heard it. Grasshopper Warbler! Close as well! Never easy birds to see, we contented ourselves with the strange 'freewheeling-bicycle' song, but trained our binoculars towards the bush where the sound seemed to be coming from.
And there it was! Skulking around the lower branches, but in full view and totally oblivious to our presence. A fantastic, all-too-short lunchbreak, and a trip to the chip shop on the way back was the icing on the 'Gropper' cake.

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