A phone call from Richard Heading had me heading for the door, after grabbing my camera and binoculars, and then searching for the car keys. The little voice inside me urged me to remember to stick to the speed limit in the village, so I sedately made my way to the monument, A quick scan revealed three people staring into a bush a few hundred yards along the cliff top.
As I approached I could hear the shutter on Phil's camera clicking away, a good sign that it was still in view. As soon as I lifted my bins it disappeared over the cliff but quickly returned. soon giving great views, my first Paddyfield Warbler in Kent, a first for St Margaret's and only the second one I'd seen in the UK. After a while I got my camera ready and of course the bird disappeared into the bush! Soon it came out and performed beautifully to the three of us, and as we watched it, more people appeared at the top of the hill and urgently made their way down towards us.
A lot of the time it was very close but partly hidden in the various umbel heads it was feeding amongst. It wandered a few yards from the original bush and was quickly found, but it soon returned to what seemed to be its favoured area.
The light was terrible, as a friend of mine used to say F8 for a *** fortnight. It occasionally came to areas in better light and the quality of the pictures improved a bit. I'm sure Phil Chantler got some really good shots.
This is the smallest of the Acrocephalus warblers and has a distinctive face pattern, short wings and a long tail, the comparatively short slim bill has with an all dark upper mandible and only the base of the lower mandible is pale. The broad pale supercilium is edged dark above and below and and pale under parts are whitish, extending to form a half collar round the neck. The legs are mid-brown.