Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Birders flock to Paxton Pits

A pleasant Sunday in summer always brings a lot of visitors to the Reserve at Little Paxton but this week we had the added attraction of a rare bird.

 Some groups had booked in advance and so the local branch of the Royal Society of Biology had a treat waiting for them on Saturday and the Loughborough RSPB group must have been overjoyed to see a European rarity at no extra expense.

Normally to see a Great Reed Warbler you would need a trip to the continent, ideally to one of the big Dutch reedbeds where the bird is called a Grote Karekiet. Even in Holland it is a rare breeding bird and efforts are being made to save it.

The name “Karekiet”  is onomatopoeic; the song is a rattling din made up of K-K-K- K- kara-kara-kara karekiet!  And it is very loud, which is just as well because this bird is very hard to see, despite being as big as a thrush.

The Paxton Pits Great Reed Warbler was first heard on Saturday morning (15th May) and it has stayed for several days, singing most of the time. Serious “Birders” contribute to online newsgroups that quickly spread the word when a rarity like this turns up and this has resulted in a steady stream of men with telescopes and big cameras, all anxious to see, hear and photograph the bird. Everyone who has tried has at least heard the song, but it can take patience to get a sighting, and even more time is needed if you want a good photo.  

This video was taken by Steve Blain.

The bird photo is by Garth Peacock and posted on the Cambridge Bird Club photo page 

The photo of birdwatchers was taken by Matt Hall on his iPhone.