The whitethroats are back!

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I’d set myself a task over the weekend to try and hear a cuckoo and get a picture of one, and to try and get the first sighting of the year of the whitethroat.

Alison and I visited Rufford Park on Sunday 23rd April and saw a variety of different species, but nothing different from what we’d already seen on the lakes and areas around our home.

However, we did capture this one off: we heard a high pitched trill close by and looked in the surrounding trees and hedgerows.  Then Alison said, “Look, Lee, in the gap in that fence!”  Look what greeted us: a baby song thrush calling for its parents.  What a picture!  Right time and place again.  Hope you love it as much as we did.

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Anyway, on with the star of the show: the whitethroat.  I did actually get these pictures on 24th April and heard the cuckoo quite close although I never saw it.  I will get one for you, I promise!

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I was told by my mate Pete to walk right down the river towards Lound, so that’s what I did.  I heard that amazing call: a harsh “tchak” followed by a rapid cheerful scratchy warble, and knew that it was the call of a whitethroat.  It then flew up from vegetation and perched high on a bush, where I got the first pictures.

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Notice its lovely grey cap and cheeks, the striking white throat and long brown edged white tail, with light pinkish brown legs.

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The whitethroat will sing in flight too.   A summer visitor or migrant to much of Europe, it will nest concealed in vegetation near the ground.  Heath, scrub and woodlands are among its favourite places to hang out.

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Since I took these pictures around Idle Valley, we’ve seen and heard lots of whitethroats in different locations.

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We really enjoy our birding outings, and I often get asked when I’m out what I’m looking at.  This happened on Friday, when I got talking to a lady and gentleman.  We discovered that they knew my mum and dad (both sadly departed) very well from being teenagers.  It was a fantastic moment when they realised whose son I was, and it made my day.  Another reason to get out there – you never know who you might meet!

 

 

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