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And you thought Sedge Warblers couldn't get any dafter...

Posted by on May 13, 2014 4:59 PM | 

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Came across this weirdo this afternoon as I was reccying for a free walk we're doing at Marshside on Saturday morning - "The Figure of Eight", details at www.facebook.com/seftoncoast
As I was walking down Marshside Road I could hear the usual Sedge Warbler cacophony, but wasn't expecting this vision in white to be occupying the song posts in the brambles!

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Almost entirely white apart from some tail feathers, a few primaries and secondaries and a streaks on the mantle, with a leucisty yellowy wash to the face and chest, but dark eye, legs and bills.
I can honestly say I've never come across albinoism/leucism (Desert Warblers don't count baby) or melanism in a warbler in Europe, Asia, Africa or the New World before.
Absolutely crackers, but making the usual unholy Sedge Warbler din, even having a go at display flights!

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Every time it came up out of the vegetation to sing the more conventionally plumaged Sedgies attacked it (don't these cats watch Eurovision? Be cool), sending it back into cover, which may have been just as well, as it presented a heck of a target for the local Sprawks overhead.

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Good afternoon to be on the marsh in the warm sun - Ruff on Marshside One, with two Wheatears on the Coast Road embankment, Swifts going through and a female Whinchat down in Wheatear Corner, where the summering Pink Foot lurked with the feral Barnacle Goose and the Canada flock.
Swifts and hirundines moving, Reed, Sedge, Whitethroat, Chiffies and Willow Warbler singing away.
Chiffies outnumbered the Willow Warblers 5 to 1, although a hot afternoon is probably not the best time to be assessing warbla population trends.
It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...
PS: Does anyone know if the BOU has split the arctic race of Sedge Warbler yet????? Gyr Warbler anybody???

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9 Comments

Marshside/Crossens, 0915-1340
Seriously sorry to have missed John's bleached Sedge Warbler... I've never seen an albino or a leucistic warbler; they must be very rare.
Quieter session today: 9 Wheatears, 1 fem Whinchat (almost certainly the bird John saw later)c 80 Swifts, 45 Swallows, 15 House Martins, 3 Sand Martins.
A pair of Avocets relentlessly pursued an immature Marsh Harrier for a totally unnecessary half-kilometre over Crossens saltmarsh.
Truly a wader of very little brain.

That is mental!!!

Weird n cool!

Marshside/Crossens, 0900-1310
Ran into the Mad Dog on the HGC embankment, both of us foolishly lured by easing winds to look for a Spotted Flycatcher on its way north; alas, no joy. Rest of the session enlivened by c. 200 Swifts and c. 100 Swallows northbound, 7 Wheatears and views of the Bird Of The Week, the snow-white male Sedge Warbler found by JD yesterday. How this guy has survived at least two trips from/to West Africa without being eaten by a Shrikra/Eleanora's Falcon etc. etc. is a mystery. I will await a few beige/piebald juveniles in the shrubbery in July with interest

Cracking spot that one, JD.
And it even posed for you!
Unlike the parrot/macaw - green'n'yellow - that perched on a tree in next door's garden at about 6.55 this a.m. just off College Road North, Crosby.
Didn't hang around till I'd grabbed my camera, natch.

8 Common Terns fishing the shallows off Ainsdale beach at 1350 today. Swifts and hirundines moving north up the coast in regular pulses, but low numbers.

Superb Grey Plover amongst the Dunlin and Ringed Plovers on the beach opposite Southport Yacht Club this afternoon.

Marshside/Crossens 0940-1445

A Spotted Flycatcher by the HGC embankment and a Lesser Whitethroat rattling away by Crossens Sewage Works began and ended quite a reasonable bag of late migrants/new arrivals: 4 Siskins, 17 Wheatears, 4 Whitethroats, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Willow Warbler. A swarm of Swifts and hirundines low over Rimmer's Marsh in the late morning drizzle included at least 20 Sand Martins. The immature Marsh Harrier again distant over Crossens saltmarsh.
Oh yes...and The Man in the White Suit still performing in the Triangle by Marshside Road.

Your white Sedgie was still performing well this morning! Seems unfazed by the aggressive attentions of previously arrived males. Seems their interest is because of his obvious Sedgieness and not his plumage aberrations. Amazing bird, and how he got to Senegal and back without being picked off by at least 30 different raptor species is even more amazing!

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