Western Orphean Warbler in Devon

Western Orphean WarblerA strange singing Sylvia – Warbler, an industrial complex, not looking very promising and a mega bird! This observation could be made on November 5th 2003 in the Industrieterrein Arnestein in Middelburg/ Zeeland in The Netherlands. The photo you see was made at that time. Quite difficult to shoot the skulker.
A comparable observation could be made now in Devon. It is by the Teign Estuary at Newton Abbot. A strange singing Sylvia – Warbler was discovered by a 15 year-old schoolboy in a bush. His name is Laurie A and he found this bird close to his home in South Devon on 22 May. After consulting some bird books and other birdwatchers they made a first guess, that it was a Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca). Fortunately, he sound-recorded his observation and whilst browsing his website today some friends took an interest in the bird and realised it was something much better. More british birdwatchers visited the site in the evening. The bird was singing immediately upon arrival but was particularly skulking, only allowing brief observations. It matched the song of Western Orphean Warbler (Sylvia hortensis) perfectly and continued singing until late in the evening hours. It is supposed a male Western Orphean Warbler present in Devon. The observers supposed very fast, that it was an Orphean, but only the sound recordings confirmed it as Western Orphean Warbler. So far obviously one of the first records of the western species / subspecies for the UK. Previously, there has been a similar record from Cornwall, where a singing male was reported near Saltash on 20th-22nd May 1991.

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