Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Over the last week I have been lucky enough to hear, see & photograph a wonderfull little brown bird called a Grasshopper Warbler. A summer visitor to the UK which winters in tropical Africa.Named after its song, this skulker has eluded me for several years, until the other day. Whilst getting the car out of the garage, the unmistakeable reeling came from one of my garden hedges. I had to have a look. At this point I should probably mention that I have heard them on many occasions before & been within a couple of feet of a singing bird, though never clapped eyes on one, such is there skulking nature. Peering into the thick tangled vegetation, I soon spotted a movement. After moving to try & get a better view, there it was.....My first ever Gropper! It soon disappeared when it seen me, but was heard reeling later in the day. I did not see it again.
Today however, I travelled to the center of Dartmoor with fellow photographer Tim Taylor. After a slog around the high tops  & valleys, seeing not much more than Meadow pipits, Skylarks, a single female Wheatear & several Willow warblers, I again heard a Gropper. Determined for a better look, we set off through the sedge & moss of a boggy area towards the sound, stopping frequently to regain a bearing. We eventually tracked the noise to a stunted willow on the edge of the boggy area & sat & waited. There it was! Typically shrouded in bramble & thin branches. After moving around to get a clearer shot, I managed a few images that were in focus & not obscured to badly. The final shot below is for me the holy grail of bird photography, a gropper in the open! (pity i clipped the toe though.....doh!)
More information & a recording of the song of the Grasshopper warbler can be found at the following link:

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