FIVE TO FIND in April

Bird Watching (UK) - - Welcome -

April is the month when the bulk spring mi­gra­tion re­ally gets go­ing af­ter the pi­o­neer­ing hardy movers of March. Waders, terns, chats, hirundines and war­blers lead the charge. Many ar­rive while our win­ter­ers are still present, mak­ing this month of change an ex­cit­ing time to build a great day listlist.

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The world’s small­est gull is a far cry from the vul­gar beasts who live at the mu­nic­i­pal dump or who steal your chips at the sea­side. It is a neat and del­i­cate beauty, more like a marsh tern than a larger gull, at least in its be­hav­iour, but also in size. In the spring they pass along our coasts and may cross over land, turn­ing up to pick emerg­ing in­sects from still wa­ter bod­ies in a buoy­ant, el­e­gant, swoop­ing flight. Adults have clean up­per­wings, with­out any black, and dark un­der­wings. First-win­ters have a Kit­ti­wake­like W pat­tern on the up­per­wings, and se­cond-win­ters have an adult-like plumage with small black dots in the wing tips. SEDGE WAR­BLER

A rel­a­tive of the Reed War­bler, the Sedge War­bler also has a pref­er­ence for water­side veg­e­ta­tion, in­clud­ing reedbeds. It is one of the ear­li­est war­blers to ar­rive and on ar­rival de­liv­ers its ram­bling, over vir­tu­oso chat­ter­ing, whistling, war­bling song. Sedge War­blers are one of the few war­blers to ha­bit­u­ally per­form a song-flight (the other com­mon one be­ing the Whitethroat). So, any lit­tle brown singing war­bler ris­ing and parachut­ing from a reedbed is very likely to be a Sedge War­bler. They are eas­ily iden­ti­fied if seen well, by the bold white (or off white) su­per­cil­ium (‘eye­brow’) and the streaked up­per­parts.

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