Sunday, October 21, 2012

An odd warbler

Found by local birders Trevor and Julie in feeding in the trees along the seafront, this bird caused plenty of interest for a while on the evening of the 19th, especially on account of several apparently anomalous features.

These features included: seemingly (perhaps abnormally) long, bright orange bill, and orange legs; permanently drooped wings; often flicked and cocked tail (combined, giving a curiously chat-like impression); clumsy feeding actions (recalling e.g. Hippolais); and interesting plumage tones - dull olive-brown above, and dirty buff below, with clean white undertail coverts and (from certain angles) a yellowish wash to the face and belly.

However, most the above features, combined with the fact the bird held its bill permanently open and appeared bulky overall (on account of being 'fluffed up'), suggest it sadly wasn't in the rudest of health, despite feeding successfully; hence, the buck stops at an atypical Willow Warbler, with muted plumage tones (perhaps suggesting an eastern origin?). Interesting bird, mind....