Acro Agro or…
Shetland’s Paddyfield Colony?
see here for a seemingly different bird at the same site, earlier this month:
Found yesterday by intrepid Rory T (also of Burrafirth Syke’s fame), poor views and a less than striking example of the species, has caused considerable consternation. Mike Penno sent me a few pics last night which suggested to my eyes at least something better than Reed-maybe Blythe’s Reed.
A few seconds on an Angelica stem, in full view, today gave Robbie Brookes an opportunity to get the photos below. Here its looks more clearly like a 1st winter Paddyfield. But its easy for me to say!! Observers will simply not have had the kind of views we can enjoy in these photos.
This is good example whereby identification in the field is, in reality a lot harder than appreciated from the luxury of a laptop. Anyone can be an expert when it comes to ‘internet identification’!
In the photos, the bird does show clearly short wings (looks like 6 primary tips), warm toned uppers, rufous wash to rump and especially big (too big for any Reed) flaring super. The reason it looks a little less convincing – the greyish wash of super behind eye makes it less striking, dark lores and supraloral (dark line above supercilium) rather weak looking. The dark centred, contrasty tertials take the possibility of Blythe’s Reed out of the frame. Observers struggled with the tail not looking long enough in the field for typical Paddyfield. Greyish iris is some pics and fresh plumage (only slightly worn) plumage suggest first winter – though not always easy.
Despite reams that have been written about plain acros (acrocephalus warblers = sharp or pointy-headed warbler), especially the vagrants, can be very tricksy. Confirmation of the identification of this bird has proved awkward since it was found.
Big well done (and little envy!) to the guys who stuck with the process.
Photos, by top photographer and Unst resident, Robbie Brookes at Halligarth.
23rd August 2010