Close to the sedge (warbler)

We often take a walk through RSPB North Warren, the bird and nature reserve immediately north of the Suffolk town of Aldeburgh. There is a fresh water marsh there with quite an array of little egrets, duck, geese and on a recent visit a pair of spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia). Heading from the hide nearest Maggi Hambling’s infamous sculpture Scallop to the hide opposite at dusk recently, we heard a loud warbling song and then spotted a tiny little bird, white eyeband, flitty flight in and out of a tangle of thorny bushes. He sat still and not too far away for me to get a few nice shots of him. It was, I believe, a sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus).

The RSPB website describes this species as “quite plump”, but to my eye it was a rather delicate bird with prominent creamy “eyebrows”. The sedge is a summer visitor to the UK and elsewhere, choosing to spend its winters in sub-Saharan Africa. It commonly picks insects from vegetation while perched or sometimes hovering, which we observed, but there was also a lot of “leap-catching”, in which the bird grabs flying insects as it flies between perches.

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