Like everyone else, we are getting more than a bit cheesed-off with this eternal winter, so today we decided to ignore the grey skies and sleet and get out!
Heading for Samphire Hoe lifted our spirits somewhat, as the sunshine had broken through the clouds and was making a mobile shiny jigsaw of the Channel. Perhaps the clouds would eventually disappear! We could hope.
On arrival, it was quite apparent that something was afoot as there appeared to be a fair gathering of scopes and birders all with their various bit of kit trained on an elevated area, only yards away, north of the visitor centre.
I had seen on the KOS website that a Bluethroat had been seen over the last couple of days. Surely we couldn’t be that lucky?
Hoping that this was the case, we quickly found a spot amongst the group and over-heard mutterings in the group of the word Bluethroat! Excellent.
After standing for about half an hour and ear-wigging the chat from the group, the bird had been seen twice and in fact, had shown very early on in the morning – out on the spot where the scopes now stood. It had then shot over to a small stand of brambles and that is where we all watched. Another half hour passed and some had decided to spread out over the area a bit more. Chris and myself headed across the car park further west. It was then that the bird had exited the bush, crossed the car park and was now in another bramble stand, but this time we all saw it. It’s low flight was easy to see against a darkened background and, just briefly for 4 or 5 seconds, it stood prominently on a piece of fencing that was on the ground. Watching this beautiful female Bluethroat, even for this short amount of time was thrilling.
The bird then ducked behind a tuft of tussocky grass and we lost view of her until she criss-crossed the area between other bushes.
By this time, the skies had become leadened and sleet had started to fall. A sharp wind whipped it horizontally and the temperature dropped like a stone. Time to go.
As we defrosted in the car, we decided that the frostbite that our ears and toes had suffered was well worth it.
A bit about Bluethroats
- A passage migrant (late March-October)
- Forages for seeds, berries and insects.
- Breeding male has brilliant blue throat
- Female less obvious blue flecks on pale background on throat
- Flies low, fast and short distances
- Habitat-swampy, marshy, bushes and trees.