The Safari was on Patch 1 before 05.30 this morning. Last night's brief thunderstorm and intermittent overnight rain meant that the Iberian Chiffchaff probably hadn't shipped out. We had a stop at the Butterfly Zone where we heard Common and Lesser Whitethroats but didn't see last night's Spotted Flycatcher. Then it was over to the 'Ibe's' new favourite spot by the children's playground. No sign of it there but a Garden Warbler was singing from the furthest corner (P1 #56). Apparently it or another was heard in the Butterfly Zone (were they usually occur) yesterday. After dragging frank round the park for three quarters of an hour without any success we headed back to Base Camp for a brew.
At 09.30 we were back again and this time there were a few birders about including a young lad from St Helen's who'd heard and briefly seen the 'Ibe' in a part of the park it hasn't been seen in before. We staked it out and eventually it popped up nearby, showing well but briefly. As more birders joined in the hunt, sort of making life a bit easier as more areas could be covered, frustration started to set in as it wasn't singing or calling and had gone to ground. A couple of birders wandered down to wards the play area and hey presto had it within minutes where it performed exceptionally well picking aphids from the open leaf buds of a Sycamore tree. Analysis of the hundreds of photos taken showed it appeared to have a damaged eye, a feature possibly noted yesterday back in the Butterfly Zone. We left at 11.30 having a quick, but unsuccessful, look for the Spotted Flycatcher again.
So as a recap Patch 1 has given us the following nine species of warblers this spring:- Chiffchaff, Iberian Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler. To those you could add Goldcrest for the round 10 or perhaps we missed a Wood Warbler (unlikely)...now that WOULD have been the icing on the cake!!! In fact all except the Goldcrest have been found in the Butterfly Zone which is only a small part of the park but shows the value of even a tiny patch of scrub...and it has one of Lancashire's rarest butterflies. But please can we have a colourful male Redstart to show Wifey...it's not asking much is it?
Where to next? Can't make our mind up where to safari to tomorrow, it's a bit weather dependant.
In the meantime let us know if you've had a warbler-fest this spring, or any other type of fest for that matter.