For those of you brave enough to face the 5 a.m alarm clock call and head out in to some countryside, you will be greeted with a beautiful dawn chorus at the moment. If your wanderings take you near areas of scrub and reed bed then the warblers add to the musical mix as they sing to claim their territory and attract a mate.
From a photography point of view, warblers are tricky birds with their tendency to lurk in dense vegetation. The brief period of singing before nesting offers some of the best chances to get some photos. However, I love to photograph these birds and in can be very rewarding when it all comes together. Here are some of my recent efforts.
The first bird of this Blog post is the Blackcap, of which there seems to be good numbers around this year. They are usually relatively easy to locate with their characteristic clear, loud and fluid song that sounds a bit like a blackbird but with some extra 'warbles'. However, they are notorious for singing deep with in a shrub and so catching them in a clear area to photograph is a game of patience.
Another good target for the early spring mornings is the Willow Warbler. Visually this is a bird that is easily confused with the Chiffchaff but the lighter coloured legs are a good identification starting point. However, they are easily separated by their songs. The willow warbler song tends to be a series of fluid descending notes that always sound slight sad to me. They tend to stay out in the open more than Blackcap but their very small size and hyperactive nature creates it own photography challenges.
To finish this trio of warbler species, the Common Whitethroat. This species is characterised by a slightly scratchy hesitant song that usually emanates from a bramble or gorse bush.
This is another vegetation skulking bird but it seems to have an endless curiosity and will often come to investigate a person watching with the patience to wait, although its appearance may be brief.