Slapton Ley Booted Warbler

At 14.45 I picked up a pale looking hippolais warbler approx 150 M north of the bridge on the eastern path of the higher Ley. Good views in bright sunlight it showed a shortish primary projection with only a hint of a wing panel, well marked head. It flew across to the other side of the higher Ley and was not seen there. On these first short but good views it looked likely to be a worn adult Melodious Warber but there were some niggling features: it looked on the small side, not a long bill and very pale below, many worn adults have some yellow on the throat, pale legs and the jizz was not typical of Melodious, it was flicking along the tops of the bushes and very active ( most Melodious are skulky and slow moving), also mid October is late for this species. I walked to Strete Gate pondering and on the reurn trip refound the bird at 16.05  in the same spot but this time with very good sustained close views as it was flycatching from the tops of the bushes, I managed to get a good set of notes and clinch the ID as BOOTED WARBLER, it has a well marked head, dark almost blackish sub-coronal/lateral crown stripe particularly in front of the eye and pale edged OTF's. It has a pure white throat and  shorter bill than Melod/Icky, pale lower mandible. No yellow tones at all. Ruled out Sykes Warbler.Didn't hear it calling.

I hope it sticks around 'til tomorrow, unfortunately I have promised to take my daughters shopping to Exeter so can't get there (joy). Best place to look is 100 - 200 metres along the path, although I suspect is is quite wide ranging as originally it did fly across the Ley.

Also present Wryneck, a bit further along the track, Whinchat, Female Marsh Harrier and a steady passage south of Swallows.

I

Posted October 13th, 2012 at 8:43 pm by David Cope in Bird News