National Trust Purbeck Wildlife

Warbler Explorer

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Grasshopper warbler (northeastwildlife.co.uk)

Affectionately known as LBJ’s or ‘little brown jobs’, warblers can be tricky to identify.  Some do what it says on the tin, so a whitethroat has a white throat and a male blackcap has a black cap, but try picking out willow warbler from wood warbler or chiffchaff in a leafy tree.  The answer of course is to listen – they all sound very different.  Learning the song makes identification so much easier.

This is most useful with the ‘skulkers’, secretive birds like Dartford warblers that creep amongst the thick heather or reed warblers that stay low down in the midst of a dense reedbed.  I was lucky enough to come across a grasshopper warbler earlier this week.  These are champion skulkers so I didn’t get a sight of it, but still enjoyed hearing its distinctive reel, rising and falling as the bird turned its head.

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Author: Kevin Rideout

National Trust Visitor Experience Officer based at Studland

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