This morning was one of those mornings that makes me grateful
to be a regular patchworker, and reminded me that there is always a
surprise around the corner and more to learn about somewhere that seems
After a relatively uneventful hour (Taiga Fly, Ashy Drongo,
Thick-billed Warbler) I headed to the isolated bushes that had held the
Pallas's Gropper and Ground-thrush on Tuesday. I started playing my
sound file of Rubythroat contact call which seems to be effective at
pulling out inquisitive passerines and after a few minutes a
Thick-billed Warbler came to investigate, quickly followed by the 1st
winter Pallas's Gropper.
Given that the Gropper was was still present and the light was
OK I decided to sit still and see if it would perform for the camera.
The iPod kept playing, and after a few minutes the Orange-headed Ground
Thrush appeared, showing for a minute or so.
I continued waiting for the
Gropper to show well, but after a few minutes of getting poor views in
deep cover I turned the iPod off as it didn't seem to be having the
desired effect. Once I looked up from the iPod to where the Gropper was I
noticed it had been joined by another bird, also in deep cover. To my
surprise it looked like an imm. female Rubythroat! The views were
terrible, but the bird moved in my general direction so I waited for it
to pop out of the scrub closer to me. However what eventually appeared
in the area I was concentrating on was ANOTHER Pallas's Grasshopper
Warbler, this time an adult bird!
I was a bit confused - was this the bird I had thought was a
Rubythroat? It showed a clear supercilium and a pale throat, and it was
coming from the same direction as that bird. The original views had been
bad, so I guessed that I'd got a bit overexcited, what with the iPod
blasting out calliope
contact calls. The adult PG Tips came closer and
closer (to within about 2 meters), scurrying about on the ground and
low branches before turning around and heading back in the direction it
had come from.
A moment later and I picked up more movement in the farthest bit if
cover, where the first Gropper had been feeding. I lifted the bins to
to find them filled with an imm. female Rubythroat!
As quickly as it appeared, it disappeared, but I was pretty happy -
a new patch bird and the epitome of what a "Sibe" conjures up in my
mind - skulking and subtly beautiful, and really hard to see. I have
been watching my patch for five years and have often thought that it
might hold a Rubythroat, but have always drawn a blank. Now with this
bird and two PG Tips I was starting to realize that these isolated
bushes, which I have paid scant attention to in the past could actually
be a gold mine for quality skulkers!
The Rubythroat appeared again, showing well briefly, before being
chased out of view by another bird, which I glimpsed and thought that it
looked structurally similar to the bird it chased off...it turned
around....it was MALE RUBYTHROAT !!!
A bit more time and the 1st winter PG Tips eventually gave itself up for some record shots, whilst the male Rubythroat came frustratingly close...
|1st winter Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler|