Friday, 14 October 2016

Booted Warbler, Great Orme, Conwy, Wales - Monday 3rd October 2016

Booted Warbler, Great Orme, Conwy - Monday 3rd October 2016

A really striking bird, in a strikingly beautiful location: right on the top of the Great Orme in Conwy, Wales.

Booted Warbler was a much-wanted bird for me, after dipping one while in Norfolk a few years ago. Well, I did see that one, but the views were too brief for me to think about ticking it. So I took the opportunity to go and see this showy fella as soon as I could.

The Booted Warbler was showing well when I arrived at the site - a solitary clump of gorse atop a mound on the northern end of the headland. The weather was sunny and still, with the setting sun eventually producing a lovely golden glow and great atmosphere (it reminded me a bit of this Cream-coloured Courser twitch).

It was so pale when sat in the gorse, like piece of discarded tissue paper. It seemed to keep returning to a little bare opening in the gorse, allowing for prolonged views lit by the setting sun.

 Booted Warbler, Great Orme, Conwy - Monday 3rd October 2016

The bird appeared Chiffchaff-sized, with grey-brown upperparts and very pale underparts, with a slightly darker greyish tone to the flanks. The wings showed a dark allula and primaries, with pale fringes on the browner tertials. When it flew the it showed clear white edges to the outer tail feathers. The legs were a dull pink, but no darker "boots" were obvious. It occasionally dipped tail as it flitted about on the gorse and grass.

The head appeared peaked, with a sloping forehead. In the field the lores appeared to have a pale patch. There was a pale supercilium, widening behind the eye. The bird had a two-tone bill (dark culmen), but no black tip. The bill looked quite broad-based in my zoomed-in photos.

Booted Warbler, Great Orme, Conwy - Monday 3rd October 2016

I joined in the enjoyable discussion about the the ID features, regarding Booted vs Sykes, with 15 or so assembled birders. We all seemed happy with the bird as a Booted Warbler, despite the lack of "boots" on the bird.

Booted Warbler notes - Monday 3rd October 2016

Birders on the Great Orme, Conwy - Monday 3rd October 2016

Looking southeast towards Conwy - Monday 3rd October 2016

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